“I remember being a kid and just being able to work out with him,” Rodgers said Saturday at Green Bay Packers training camp. “I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I thought I was working out with LeBron because he was the best athlete that I’d seen at that moment. Even at 7, 8, 9, I grew up watching him play through high school. I’ve always had my eyes on him.”
They hit it off that day, with the Wildcats star impressed by the kid’s work ethic.
Even with Cobb off to the NFL as a second-round pick by the Packers in 2011, the two remained in contact. Rodgers watched Cobb rise to stardom in Green Bay. Cobb watched Rodgers eventually go to Clemson, star with the Tigers and be a third-round pick by the Packers in April.
“He’d be in the locker room, he’d be running around on the practice field,” Cobb recalled on Thursday. “He had a crazy work ethic for a 12- or 13-year-old at the time, and just watching him grow has been a blessing. I’ve got so much respect for him as a person and to see how much he’s accomplished.”
When Rodgers was drafted by the Packers, Cobb called to congratulate him. And when Cobb was traded to Green Bay on Wednesday, Cobb told him via text.
Just like that, Rodgers’ mentor was now his teammate.
“I never thought about playing with Randall because he was so much older than me,” Rodgers said. “He’s 30, I’m 21, so I thought we’d never be able to be on the same team. Now that I have the opportunity, I’m thankful. Two guys from Knoxville, Tenn., that’s trying to put the state of Tennessee and our area on the map. Hopefully, we can get that Super Bowl and people put the state of Tennessee on notice.”
If not for Cobb, Rodgers might have been in position to win a key role on offense and special teams as a rookie. The Packers considered drafting him in the second round before moving up in the third round. Short but not small at 5-foot-9 1/2 and 212 pounds, he seems like an excellent fit for coach Matt LaFleur’s offense with his quickness to get open and physicality to break tackles.
At least for the start, he figures to watch Cobb eventually leapfrog him on the depth chart.
Neither player, however, was hung up about playing time.
“We have the same goal in mind, and that’s to win the Super Bowl,” Rodgers said. “When you have that same goal in mind, everything else is out the window. Everything else doesn’t matter. You’re just focused on the team and being selfless. That’s really the same mind-set that we have. We’re selfless. Whenever we get the opportunities, we’re going to make those plays, and then we’re going to help each other make the plays, too. That’s just our mind-set. We’re trying to win a Super Bowl. I know he hasn’t won one; I know it’s my first year. I won a state championship and a national championship, so I’m definitely trying to get a Super Bowl, too. That’s my No. 1 goal for this year is get a Super Bowl, so I’m going to do whatever it takes.”
Randall Cobb Photo Gallery
While it’s true Cobb will help in Rodgers’ development through word and deed, the help will be a two-way street. Cobb’s got an offense to learn as he seeks an elusive NFL championship with his 31st birthday approaching. In a case of student teaching the teacher, Rodgers knows the offense and can share his wisdom.
“This game is the biggest team game of any sport in my eyes,” Cobb said. “There’s no one person that can make everything go and win a game, win a Super Bowl, by himself. And whenever I think about that, I’m a piece of this puzzle. I’m not the whole picture. I’m a very small piece. And there’s 90 other guys in the locker room right now that are pieces, as well.
“I’m just trying to do my part and make sure that I’m able to help him to do his part and be the best he can be so, whenever the lights come on and we’re on the field, we’ll find ways to win games. I don’t care about how many snaps I get, I don’t care how many catches, I don’t care about how many yards, touchdowns. If you don’t know that about me now, I don’t know what else to tell you. I’m here to win a championship with a football team. I don’t care about Pro Bowls, I don’t care about All-Pro, I don’t care about any of those things. It’s about finding a way to win a championship.”
In tandem, they’ll be important players this year. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers pushed for Cobb, and Cobb figures to have a key role at the start of the season. But, assuming Amari Rodgers is as good as the Packers believed when they traded for him, it’s easy to see the student pushing the teacher for playing time as the season progresses.
Cobb is good with that. It’s the nature of the game.
“I expect to see the continued progress of his growth, and I hope to be a part of that,” Cobb said. “I hope that I can be what Greg Jennings and Donald Driver and those guys were for me. That’s the approach that I’ve taken since I walked in here. I’m going to give him every tool that was given to me, and we’ll see what happens with him.”
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