GREEN BAY — Things happen awfully fast in the pocket — and out of it — for an NFL quarterback. No one knows that better than Aaron Rodgers, whose ability to process all the information at lightning speed has made him one of the best players in the league.
But even the Green Bay Packers quarterback has to admit that it’s nothing compared to zooming around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at 228 mph as girlfriend Danica Patrick did in qualifying seventh for the Indy 500.
The 36-year-old Patrick is set to retire from auto racing after Sunday’s race.
“It’s a little nerve-racking going 230 miles an hour,” Rodgers said. “I just hope she’s safe and finishes high.”
Rodgers was at the racetrack for Patrick’s qualifying and also attended her final NASCAR race, the Daytona 500, in February, when Patrick was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck and did not finish.
“Daytona was fun. Different with open-wheel racing. Not quite as much bumping,” Rodgers said. “She qualified seventh (at Indy), which is great in her last race. Hopefully, she’s able to make it all the way around. She’s had a lot of success at Indy over the years, (so) I’m hoping she goes out with a bang.”
Patrick, a Beloit native who will be driving the No. 13 GoDaddy Chevrolet for Ed Carpenter Racing, spent seven years in IndyCar racing before leaving the circuit in 2012 to concentrate on NASCAR.
“It wouldn’t be so dramatic if I wasn’t gone for seven years,” Patrick said of her IndyCar farewell being at Indianapolis. “I’m sure I would have a few less people (interested).”
While Rodgers confessed to being worried about Patrick when watching her race, he also made it clear he enjoys being a fan — rather than being the one who’s doing the competing.
“I’m just hanging out, enjoying it,” Rodgers said.
“I like being on the pit for a little. I was on the pit for a little bit at Daytona. It’s interesting to watch the pit stops. You kind of see the cars here, then you wait a little bit and then you hear them coming around and you see them again, you wait a little bit and see them again. That’s kind of how it goes.”
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Sullivan, Wojciechowski, Malaspina promoted
As promised, general manager Brian Gutekunst reorganized his scouting staff Friday, announcing promotions for several personnel executives.
Gutekunst, who’d served as previous GM Ted Thompson’s director of player personnel before getting the job over director of football operations Eliot Wolf, made Jon-Eric Sullivan and John Wojciechowski co-directors of player personnel. Sullivan had been the team’s director of college scouting the past two years while Wojciechowski had been the team’s director of pro personnel last year after five years as a college scout.
In addition, Gutekunst promoted Matt Malaspina to director of college scouting — the same title he held with the San Francisco 49ers from 2012 through 2016. Malaspina spent last season with the Packers as a college scout after working for Thompson with the Seattle Seahawks early in his career.
Gutekunst also promoted longtime West Coast scout Sam Seale, who is entering his 23rd season evaluating college players for the Packers, to national scout, and Chad Brinker to assistant director of pro scouting/salary cap analyst.
The Packers also hired Pat Moore as a college scout after he spent the previous five seasons as a scout for the Cleveland Browns, and promoted Luke Benuska to college scout after he served as a pro scout last season. Former defensive back Brandian Ross was also promoted to college scout after serving as a scouting assistant last season.
Lewis signing official
The Packers announced Friday morning what Marcedes Lewis announced for himself on Instagram on Thursday evening: The team has signed the veteran tight end to a contract.
Lewis, 34, was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars in March after 12 seasons with the team — and after the team picked up his one-year, $3.5 million option in February. He fills a glaring need for a blocking tight end.