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How Bronson Kaufusi has captured Aaron Rodgers’ attention

The longtime Packers quarterback says the former BYU star defensive end is ‘one of the happiest guys ever’

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Bronson Kaufusi, the former BYU and Timpview High star defensive end, is trying to make the Green Bay Packers this season at a different position: tight end.

This is a 2021 photo of Bronson Kaufusi of the Green Bay Packers NFL football team. This image reflects the Green Bay Packers active roster as of Monday, June 7, 2021, when this image was taken. Kaufusi, the former BYU and Timpview High star defensive end, is trying to make the Packers this season at a different position: tight end.

Associated Press

Bronson Kaufusi’s NFL career hasn’t gone as expected.

The former BYU and Timpview High star was once a third-round draft pick by the Baltimore Ravens as a pass rushing defensive end. After three years in Baltimore, he moved on to the New York Jets, and last year, switched positions to tight end.

Now, he’s in his first offseason with the Green Bay Packers, buried on the depth chart at tight end and trying to stick with the latest team to give him a shot. In Green Bay’s first preseason game last week, a 26-7 loss to Houston, Kaufusi played 36 snaps — 24 on offense and 12 on special teams — and did not record any statistics.  

It’s the kind of career path that can frustrate players, as things don’t pan out as expected and these once-promising talents fall out of the spotlight.

Even then, though, Kaufusi’s positive personality has caught the attention of one of his new teammates, reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers.

The Packers quarterback recently discussed with NBC Sports’ Peter King his decision to return to Green Bay this season, after an offseason filled with reports of Rodgers being unhappy with the organization he’s played his entire career with. 

During that conversation, the 16-year Packers quarterback talked about how important building relationships with teammates meant to him. During that portion of the discussion, Kaufusi was mentioned briefly, along with several other teammates.

“For me to still be playing, to still have these relationships, to grow relationships with guys like Davante Adams and Allen Lazard, David Bakhtiari and Marcedes Lewis, Jaire Alexander and some of these guys I’ve gotten close to the last few years. Part of what I love is getting to know these other guys,” Rodgers told King.

“Our tight end, Bronson Kaufusi, I love him. One of the happiest guys ever. My locker mate, (backup linebacker) Oren Burks, who’s a super-sweet, genuine, good human. Or the younger guys that we brought in off the street who are still trying to figure out how to talk to the old guy with some gray in his beard. You watch the speeches from the Hall of Fame guys and they talk about how the relationships are the most important thing. And when I walked in that first day, I wanted to reassure all of them where I was mentally — not that they really needed to hear it. I felt so much love from those guys.”

Kaufusi’s brother, Corbin Kaufusi, who’s now an offensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers, responded to that quote being shared on Twitter his thoughts about how his brother’s positivity impacts others: “Keep letting your light shine brother.”

Last season, the Kaufusi brothers were on the New York Jets practice squad together before moving to their current teams.

Bronson Kaufusi is embracing the chance to compete, and hopefully find a spot in the Packers’ organization come the regular season.

“You never know what can happen in this league. It’s just a day-by-day thing, honestly,” he told Packer Central’s Bill Huber in early July. “Anything can happen. Every day in camp, I just want to show them what I can do and that I can help the team and be a great teammate and help us get those wins. That’s what it comes down to.”