After wearing the No. 3 for the past four seasons at Clemson, Amari Rodgers had to choose a different number with the Green Bay Packers after joining the organization as its third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Unfortunately for Rodgers, the No. 3 was the second jersey number in Packers history to be retired, in honor of Pro Football Hall of Fame running back Tony Canadeo upon his retirement in 1952.
So instead, Rodgers went with the No. 8 – not only because he wanted a single-digit number, with the NFL recently passing a rule allowing skill players to wear single digits, but also because the number has a special meaning for him.
“I definitely wanted to hop on it. It’s the first year, so it will be cool the first year to have it,” he said of sporting a single digit. “But ‘3’ was retired. So, ‘8’ is just a ‘3’ but you just close it in. So, everything came full circle, so that’s really how I saw it – everything coming full circle. All the work that I put in came full circle. Now I’m here achieving my dreams, so that’s what that ‘8’ symbolizes to me.”
Rodgers achieved one of his dreams on Friday when he stepped onto the field for the first time as an NFL player, sporting a ‘G’ on his helmet as the Packers kicked off their rookie minicamp.
“It’s a dream come true,” Rodgers said. “This is what I’ve dreamed of my whole life, strapping up for an NFL football team, and to be doing it for the Packers is even more of a dream just to know it’s such a prestigious program and you know that they win. I come from a winning program, too, so I’m just plugging right in. I just plan on helping the team get a Super Bowl, and that’s really my main goal.”
The former Clemson receiver admits he had some butterflies at the outset of his first NFL practice, but once he settled in, Rodgers was in his comfort zone simply playing the game that he loves.
“Of course, going out there in front of coaches for the first time, you’re going to be a little bit nervous,” he said. “But once I got a couple routes in, caught a couple balls, it’s just me doing what I’ve been doing my whole life, my whole career. So, I’m just out there playing ball, catching, doing what I do. So, of course, the first day you’ve got nerves, you’ve got jitters. But once you get going, you’re just doing what you do, playing football.”
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