Saturday, May 10, 2014
Richard Rodgers drafted by Green Bay Packers
By Brendan C. Hall
Former St. John's High two-sport superstar Richard Rodgers was drafted in the third round of the NFL Draft, 98th overall, by the Green Bay Packers.
The 6-foot-4, 257-pound Rodgers, a Worcester native, is one of the most explosive athletes to come through the Central Mass. region in the 21st century. In football, Rodgers led St. John's to MIAA Super Bowl titles in 2009 and 2010; in basketball, he was part of four MIAA Division 1 state finalist teams, winning the title in 2009. In ESPN Boston's four-year history of selecting All-State Teams, he was the first athlete to make the team in two different sports (football - 2010, basketball - 2010-11).
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers tweeted his congratulations to Richard:
On playing wide receiver rather than tight end at Cal in 2013 contributing to his decision to enter the NFL Draft early: “I think it contributed to my decision a little bit, just because our offense here last year didn’t really use tight ends at all, or very little I should say. It didn’t really concern me. Obviously you see the tight ends now that are in the NFL. A lot of people are playing a style [where the tight end is] off the line. It didn’t worry me at all. That wasn’t a big factor.”
On the feedback he received from NFL teams regarding not playing tight end as a 2013 junior: “There were a lot of questions about blocking. Since my first two years I was playing tight end a lot of teams looked at my sophomore year film if they wanted to see me on the line blocking.”
On going to Green Bay: “I’m just excited to get this opportunity, and I’m ready to get out there. I’m getting out there on Thursday, and I can’t wait to get after it.”
On playing with fellow former Cal player Aaron Rodgers: “I think it’s going to be a great experience. I’m going to get to learn from a veteran quarterback who is one of the best in the league if not the best. I’m going to be kind of learning anything I can. At the tight end position you have to know a lot of things protection-wise and scheme wise, and talking to the quarterback is one of the best ways to learn information about an offense especially as a new player coming in.”
On being selected by Green Bay and in the third round: “I really had no idea. You don’t really know that much going into the draft other than crazy things happen. I had no idea and I was just as surprised as anyone else.”
On whether adding weight to play tight end in the past his health: “It wasn’t a problem with my weight that hurt my feet. I actually got hurt against Southern Utah my sophomore year. I partially tore a ligament in my foot. That’s what was causing me the speed problems and the pain in my foot. It wasn’t about my weight. I can play fine at any weight just and be just as athletic. It was just that injury that I had suffered. That’s why I had all the problems.”
On Aaron Rodgers’ tweet welcoming him to Green Bay: “I think that’s fantastic. I don’t have any social media so I wasn’t able to see that, but to hear that is very, very exciting and I can’t wait to get out there and get to work.”
On how it feels to exceed the expectations of where he was projected to be drafted: “I don’t really believe in this stuff on the internet. I’m sure there are lots of people reading things on the internet, but I don’t believe in doing that. It was one of the reasons I don’t have any social media. Wherever I go, I go, and that was my mindset going in. If I went in the last pick in the draft or the third round like I did I was going to bring my work ethic to whatever team [I was picked by] and just play my heart out.”
On the reaction of his father Richard Rodgers Sr. (his father is the special teams coordinator for the Carolina Panthers and a former Cal player): “Yes, he called me tonight. He talked to my mom and my sister first before me because I was on the phone with the Packers. But I talked to him on the phone and he was very excited. He was just leaving the Panthers’ facility and a lot of people started texting him and calling him, so he was really excited. He’s just happy for me. He really didn’t have words to explain it at the moment but I’m sure I’ll talk to him later on.”
On whether the Panthers and Packers play in 2014: “I don’t know. I’m not sure. If they do that would be very interesting.”
Editors’ note: The Panthers and Packers are scheduled to play in Green Bay on Sunday, October 19.
On his ideal playing weight in the NFL: “Probably around 265, I think that’s my ideal weight.”
On not having social media: “I used to have it, and I decided that I didn’t want it anymore so I stopped doing it. I stopped about a year and a half or two years ago now, somewhere around there. I lost count. I don’t find myself looking at my phone for hours.”
On who called him from Green Bay: “I talked to the scout, GM, tight ends coach and offensive coordinator. I talked to everyone. They welcome you and mostly just see if you’re excited and ready to get to work. I’m pretty sure everyone does the same thing. You talk to a bunch of people that were in the room. They said they were excited to have me, and I told them that I was excited to get out there and get to work.”