TEMPE, Ariz. -- Theirs is a relationship forged by business but solidified by who they are off the football field.
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers first met while Rosen was looking for an agency earlier this year. Once Rosen signed with the same one that represented Rodgers, in part because Rosen admired Rodgers, the foundation for their friendship was laid. It was strengthened while they worked together on a docuseries, "Destination Dallas," that Rodgers was an executive producer for and which featured Rosen during his journey to the 2018 NFL draft.
Initially, Rosen didn't think they'd be friends beyond the show. "I thought we were just kind of going to hang out for the cameras a little bit and talk and try to make it look more than it was," Rosen said this summer. But they clicked and quickly discovered they had more in common than just playing the same position.
Over time, Rodgers became more than a mentor. He became a friend. He became, "The Dude."
"The best word that I use to describe him and what I try to emulate is, he's a dude," Rosen said this summer. "He's just The Dude. When he's walking around the building or whatever he's doing, you just know he's that guy. When he steps into the huddle at a critical moment in a late-game [situation] at the end of the year, you know that he's stepping into that huddle and he's telling his guys he's going to go down and score a touchdown and that they're all going to believe him because he's that dude."
The feeling is mutual.
"I liked him a lot from the start," Rodgers said. "He's a highly intelligent guy. He has interests outside football. He's a really curious guy. He's interested in a lot of different things and always learning and reading and studying up on stuff. So, he knows a lot about a lot. I definitely related to that, as well.
"He has a good moxie about him. He has good leadership qualities and he can throw the heck out of the ball, too."
Rosen appreciated Rodgers for the same reasons.
"It's kind of nice in a world where everyone wants you to think less and do more football, it's cool to talk to people who think about other things," Rosen said.
The more time Rodgers spent with Rosen during production of their shows, the more they got along.
"I really enjoy him," Rodgers said. "He's a good, young guy and he's got a good head on his shoulders and he's interesting."
Rodgers called Rosen "an old soul," a label Rosen said he has been hearing a lot this season.
"He's a young kid but he sees things through a different lens," Rodgers said. "That's probably why we connected."
It helped that Rosen can be brutally honest. Rosen doesn't share his opinions as much as he did when he was in college -- or when he was drafted -- but Rodgers appreciates Rosen's honesty.
"Hell yeah," Rodgers said. "I respect it. He's going to let you know what he's thinking and live with the consequences. I think there's a lot to be said for that honesty. Also, he knows what he's talking about. He's a thoughtful guy. He's not just popping off the collar. He's thought about the things that he wants to say and stands behind his words. There's a lot to respect about that."
Before the draft, the two talked about football -- mainly drops and reads but mostly "conceptual stuff." Nothing "too crazy," Rosen said. But most of their conversations focused on life off the field "before the whole circus started," Rosen added.
Rodgers tried to prepare Rosen for how life changes and how to handle it.
"A lot of it was just sort of how sometimes certain relationships you've had for a long time will change for the better and the worse," Rosen said. "… Aaron will be the first one to tell you he has made a lot of mistakes. I think it's nice to be able to hear from someone who is glad to have learned from those mistakes and hopefully instill some knowledge so I don't trip over similar wires."
Rodgers also gave Rosen a piece of advice when it comes to taking over a football team: Be yourself.
"Remember that when you get a chance to be the guy, because it's all about authentic leadership," Rodgers said. "I don't know if there's anybody that knows themselves as well as Josh does. He's a confident kid and he knows who he is. That in itself is relatable for any guy on the squad, even though he is a rookie."
The two stay in touch. They talked around Thanksgiving and again earlier this week.
Cardinals coach Steve Wilks thinks it's "good" Rosen has Rodgers as a mentor. But Wilks knows the season isn't the time for Rodgers to impart more wisdom on Rosen. That'll come in the offseason, Wilks said, when Rodgers can talk to Rosen about his growing pains from early in his career.
As for calling Rodgers the "The Dude" earlier this year, Rosen wasn't necessarily referring to the character from "The Big Lebowski" but said it could be "interpreted however you want."
Don't tell Rodgers that, though.
"If he's referencing 'The Big Lebowski at all," Rodgers said, "it's right at the top of compliments."