Just because you make it to the NFL doesn’t mean it will last forever. Amari Rodgers knows that all too well.
Rodgers had a successful career at Clemson as a slot receiver after making a name for himself at Knoxville Catholic.
But when helping out with the Knoxville Catholic Legacy Football Camp on Saturday, Rodgers opened up about the start to his NFL career.
After being selected by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft, he was released on Nov. 15, 2022. Even after getting cut after playing only 26 games, the return specialist was surprisingly able to maintain a collected mentality.
“I just took it all in and just took every day for a grain of salt honestly, because the NFL means not for long,” Rodgers said. “It can be taken from you any day. Just being able to soak it all in and just enjoy every single moment, was important to me. I feel like I had a great opportunity to do that with the patronage.”
And though his career with the Packers was short-lived, Rodgers was ready to move on to his next chapter.
“It’s part of the league. It happens to a lot of people. It doesn’t work out somewhere., but another opportunity opens up somewhere else,” Rodgers said. “Everything is not going to be peaches and cream. You just got to realize that just you just have to continue to grow and continue to believe in yourself and your craft and in the next opportunity just just make the best out of it.”
Although he had some impressive appearances in a reserve role as a rookie with the Packers, seven fumbles loomed large.
That seventh fumble was costly, with the Packers releasing him two days later.
The next day the Houston Texans claimed Rodgers off waivers and he quickly got his second chance.
“Just knowing that I had an opportunity. That was the biggest motivator because easily you can be out of this league and nobody gives you a chance. So just being grateful to have had another chance to go out and show my talents and put on for another team and city,” said Rodgers, the son of former Tennessee quarterback and current Baltimore Ravens wide receivers coach Tee Martin.
“So just being able to go out there and just prove to the other team that you are what they thought you were and maybe didn’t work out in their plan, it worked out somewhere else.”
The 5-foot-9 Rodgers immediately took advantage of his clean slate and went on to make an impact in a short amount of time. In six games, he recorded 12 receptions, 154 receiving yards with one touchdown. He had nine receptions and 95 yards in the season and a half with the Packers.
Rodgers’ time with the Packers helped him succeed with the Texans but age and growth are the true difference-makers heading into the 2023 season.
“I’m going to my third season, I have a lot of stuff that I’ve seen with the Packers. I was able to play with Aaron Rogers and Davante Adams the best of the best in the league. I was able to see it and see how they prepared, I took it in every single day and I just took it with me,” Rodgers said. “Just knowing that I’m more mature now, I know what it looks like I know what it takes to be successful in the league. I feel like that’s definitely gonna help me out.”
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Now, all Rodgers wants to do is help the Texans and new coach DeMeco Ryans win more games. Houston was 3-13-1 in 2022.
“My goal is to help them win. We have a new staff and new everything. Just get to get back on the winning track, turn the city back up and definitely solidify myself in the league as a playmaker. Get the bad taste out of my mouth that I have with Green Bay,” Rodgers said.
This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Amari Rodgers on his struggles with Packers and future with Texans