And Villa keeper Shay Given, who had played with Speed at Newcastle, was in tears prior to kick-off.
Rodgers believes the game has lost a "legend".
He said: "It was such a bombshell. (Villa manager) Alex (McLeish) spoke to his players and I spoke to mine and it was so close that we decided from our end that we wanted to play as a mark of respect for Gary because he was a great man of football.
"We spoke a lot because of our respective jobs and he was a true football legend.
"It is just so sad. He had been doing a fantastic job for Wales, and it's a sad day for football.
"Both sets of fans were brilliant, and it's perhaps fitting that it ended in a draw."