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Where are they now? Former First Colonial, VT and Packers player Aaron Rouse now politician in hometown
Former First Colonial High School, Virginia Tech and Packers football player Aaron Rouse has continued to make his Virginia Beach community proud, serving as the at-large Virginia Beach city council member since 2018. (Courtesy: @aar0n_rouse/Instagram)

Where are they now? Former First Colonial, VT and Packers player Aaron Rouse now politician in hometown

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (BVM) — Aaron Rouse always cared about representing his hometown well. Though born in Norfolk, Va., Rouse was raised in Virginia Beach and was deeply rooted to his community. As an athlete, he was able to rise into the city’s public’s consciousness through his ability on the gridiron which helped the former football star take his commitment to his hometown a step further as in 2018 he won a seat as an at-large Virginia Beach council member, becoming the youngest African American to be elected while representing the largest city in terms of population in the entire state. Rouse’s rise in the world of politics is aided by the skills, lessons and leadership he learned from his many successful years on the football field.

Rouse would rise to stardom through his excellent play on the football field, although he was a two-sport athlete during his time at First Colonial. He was such an elite athlete that Rouse would play both sides of the ball for the Patriots, taking snaps at wide receiver, safety, linebacker, running back and cornerback during his varsity seasons. Rouse’s best play would come on the defensive side of the ball however and he would be named first team Group AAA by the Associated Press at linebacker while earning second team in the coaches’ vote at defensive back. Following his senior season, Rouse was named the Virginia Beach District defensive player of the year and finished his career with 176 career tackles and nine interceptions.

Ranked the No. 32 safety in the nation by Rivals, Rouse earned a scholarship to in-state Virginia Tech. While not the heaviest recruited prospect, this would turn out well for both Rouse and the Hokies as by his junior year he would be a bonafide star.

Though a solid contributor for the Hokies, earning freshman All-American honorable mention honors from Rivals while playing in all 26 games his first two years, a position change to rover safety allowed Rouse to explode on the scene as a junior. In his first game starting at his new position, Rouse recorded eight tackles, intercepted two passes, added two pass deflections and forced a fumble against North Carolina State, earning Atlantic Coast Conference defensive back of the week honors. By season’s end, Rouse had 77 total tackles with 4.5 for a loss, four interceptions and five pass breakups which earned him first team All-ACC honors.

The next season, Rouse was seen as one of the top safeties in the country in the preseason as he was ranked the No. 3 strong safety in the nation by The Sporting News and was also selected a first-team preseason All-ACC player. Unfortunately, Rouse would take a step back during the year and would finish with only 57 tackles, two for a loss and one interception. This wrapped up his Hokies career with 217 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, five interceptions and four forced fumbles with 24 starts in 52 games.

Though not as hot of a commodity as he was as a junior, Rouse impressed scouts during the 2007 pre-draft process enough to warrant a high round pick. The safety was selected by the Green Bay Packers with their third round pick (89th overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft and would make an immediate impact.

Due to an injury to Packers starting safety Nick Collins, Rouse started his first NFL game as a rookie against the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 11, 2007. A week later, Rouse recorded his first career interception against Carolina Panthers quarterback Vinny Testeverde. The next week, in his second career start, Rouse would again bring down an interception, this time against future NFL Hall of Famer Calvin Johnson, and earn a nomination for the Week 12 Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week award. Rouse would play in 11 total games as a rookie, recording 23 total tackles, four pass deflections and two interceptions.

 

The next season, Rouse would primarily play a backup role for the Packers, but would start sporadically as the team’s backend suffered injuries. In total, Rouse would play in 14 games recording 44 tackles, three pass deflections, two interceptions and an interception returned for a touchdown against Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.

During the 2009 season, Rouse was released by the Packers and signed with the New York Giants. For the first time in his career, Rouse played in all 16 games and recorded career-highs in tackles with 48, pass deflections with four and sacks with one. Despite having his best statistical season, the Giants would release Rouse the following spring and although he would sign with the Arizona Cardinals for training camp, would be released prior to the season  which would end his NFL career, finishing with 115 tackles, 11 pass deflections, four interceptions, one sack and one touchdown.

Rouse would keep his football career alive for two more years by playing in the United Football League where he signed with the Omaha Nighthawks for the 2010 season. In 2011, Rouse returned to his home state as a member of the UFL’s Virginia Destroyers where he’d lead the team to a league championship and earn the game’s MVP honors after recording three interceptions. This would be the final game of Rouse’s career.

Following his football career, Rouse served as a coach and a mentor before founding the non-profit Rouse’s House, which tries to expose children and families in the Virginia Beach community to a broader world of learning. During this time, Rouse would also dip his toes in the world of politics, frequently using his football career as a way to gain entry into delegate’s and senator’s offices where he would pick their brains about a potential political career.

Rouse would run for public office in Virginia Beach and in 2018 earn his first position as an at-large member of the Virginia Beach city council. In 2020, Rouse ran for mayor of his hometown, but would drop out of the race prior to election day. Today, Rouse is still the at-large member of the Virginia Beach city council and lives in the city with his son and daughter. While he may not be representing his hometown in the bright lights of NFL football, Rouse is doing his city proud by serving his community the best way he knows how.