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Zach Wilson on chatting with Aaron Rodgers: 'I'm a big fanboy'

Roughly 15 years of age and 16 seasons of NFL experience separate Packers all-time great Aaron Rodgers and Jets rookie Zach Wilson.

Yet they found themselves on the same field preparing for the same upcoming season.

The first-round quarterbacks got together in Green Bay on Wednesday for a Jets-Packers joint practice and the rookie in the pairing had no problem admitting he was a bit starstruck sharing a field and exchanging words with Rodgers, a surefire future Hall of Famer.

"[Jets quarterback] James [Morgan] was a big fanboy; he was getting a little nervous," Wilson joked, via The Associated Press. "Nah, I'm a big fanboy, too. We all kind of got to pretend like we've been there before. We enjoy just being out here and being able to talk to him."

Rodgers has been arguably the top NFL story of the offseason due to his disharmony with the Packers front office and might well be entering his final run in Green Bay. Meanwhile, Wilson is about to begin his first season in New York, with Gang Green having found the next great QB hope with the No. 2 overall selection of the 2020 NFL Draft.

On this day, Wilson got to pick the mind of the No. 24 overall selection of the 2005 NFL Draft.

"He's got a lot of knowledge," Wilson said. "He's a smart dude, he knows what's going on out there. It's cool to ask him about footwork, what's going on on the field, what he's seeing. If I could spend more time with him and just keep asking questions, I would."

What particularly struck Wilson was Rodgers' demeanor.

"The biggest thing I picked up ... just how calm and collected he is," Wilson said. "He's kind of just out there, almost like he's just messing around, playing backyard football. He's having a good time and he makes it work."

Rodgers gave the thumbs up for Wilson, identifying the generation gap in a rather matter-of-fact way.

"Zach's a good kid," Rodgers said. "It was fun to see him."

The kid is just 22-years-old and was 6 when Rodgers, now 37, began his storied career.

It's a career that boasts nine Pro Bowls, three All-Pro selections, three AP NFL Most Valuable Player accolades, a Super Bowl win, more than 51,000 passing yards and 412 touchdowns.

It's of little shock that Wilson aims to accomplish what Rodgers has.

"It would be obviously a dream come true to be where he's at in his career and everything he's accomplished," Wilson said. "I obviously have the opportunity to do that and so I'm just going to learn as much as I can from him and all the other great quarterbacks in the league and just take it a day at a time, the process of just making sure I keep learning and getting better."

On a somewhat sleepy Wednesday afternoon amid training camp, Rodgers, sporting a salt-and-pepper beard, and the fresh-faced Wilson had one of those snapshot moments that come and go as do the summers and autumns in the NFL.

It wasn't a passing of the torch, of course. Rodgers is the reigning MVP and Wilson, though brimming with potential and shouldering aspirations aplenty, is still unproven at this level. But it was a moment capturing what was and is intermingling with what could be.

The NFL locomotive slows for no one, but that doesn't mean it's free of the subtle moments such as was glimpsed on Wednesday.

"He was always the game I always wanted to watch on Sundays," Wilson said of Rodgers. "I always made sure I was watching his full games, what he was doing."

Now, Wilson will be sharing Sundays with Rodgers and will have youngsters clamoring to watch his games. Perhaps one day years and years from now, one of them will share the same practice field with Wilson and admit to being just as big a "fanboy," too.

"We're all technically at the same level now, we're all in the NFL," Wilson said, "but we're all kind of like, 'That's Aaron Rodgers. That's kind of crazy.' It's still a great tool for us just to be able to learn from him and kind of see what he's doing."

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