Thirty-seven years ago, George Rogers was selected No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Saints. It’s long enough ago that Rogers doesn’t remember where he was when he got the call to inform him of the selection.
He certainly wasn’t on a sound stage on a television set, which is where around 20 of these year’s NFL Draft hopefuls will be Thursday night when the first round is held in Nashville, Tennessee.
“That’s OK. I didn’t want the attention. I still don’t like the attention,” said Rogers, who won the 1980 Heisman Trophy at South Carolina before going on to be the top pick in the draft. “I think we paved the way for the guys to get what they are getting now.”
The process then bore little resemblance to now, when it will be televised live over three days. Rogers might or might not watch, he said.
“I might get lulled to sleep a little bit by it,” he said.
Rogers led the NFL in rushing as a rookie, gaining 1,674 yards. In 1985, he was traded to the Washington Redskins, where he won a Super Bowl in 1987.
“I think it would have been great right now to go to New Orleans, but when I got drafted by the Saints, we weren’t winning. Now New Orleans is winning and I would have been in a good situation.”
Rogers had 7,176 yards and 54 touchdowns in his career.
“That was a long time ago, but was exciting for me,” he said.