Richard Rodgers is a man of few words.
The new Eagles tight end spoke to media for the first time today, an availability that ran much shorter than the introductions of Michael Bennett, Haloti Ngata, Daryl Worley, Mike Wallace, Paul Worrilow, and Corey Nelson.
The 26-year-old former Green Bay player signed with the Birds on a one year deal, replacing the departed Brent Celek and Trey Burton as Zach Ertz’s backup.
“That’s just how it panned out,” Rodgers said of his free agent deal. “Obviously it’s a good opportunity for me to reset my value. But that’s how things panned out and I’m just going to try to make it happen.”
Rodgers was a third round pick out of California in the 2014 draft. He played his best season as an NFL sophomore, catching 58 balls for 510 yards and eight touchdowns.
That production dropped off in 2016 and 2017, when he combined for 42 catches for 431 yards and 3 scores, a two-year stint that was less effective than his previous campaign.
Maybe he was just being diplomatic, but Rodgers says he’s not sure why his numbers dropped off.
“I just did what I was told, did what the coaches asked me to do,” he explained. “That’s all you can do as a player, do what the coaches ask you to do. My numbers dropped, for whatever reason. I’m just trying to contribute, to help the team win.”
I’d say losing Aaron Rodgers maybe, probably, almost certainly played a role in that. The Packers also brought in Martellus Bennett and Lance Kendricks, which ate at the available snaps.
The 6’4″, 245 pounder described his catching ability as the strongest part of his game, but said that he could probably improve in every other phase. He is not considered to be the best blocker out there, and if you type “Richard Rodgers blocking” into Twitter you’ll see for yourself.
Rodgers said he had offers from other teams but his focus was directed towards Philadelphia.
“Honestly, watching the Eagles play on TV last year, I feel like I just enjoyed that the most,” said Rodgers. “They had an exciting fan base, exciting players, celebrations. They were doing a lot of fun stuff. It’s hard to be a team that has that kind of chemistry, so I felt like I wanted to be a part of that.”
As for Ertz, Rodgers played against him in 2011 and 2012 as part of their overlap at Pac-12 schools.
“I don’t know him very well,” he admitted. “He played against me. He went to Stanford unfortunately (laughs). But I’m looking forward to getting to know him and to see how he is in practice and see how he works. I really haven’t had many veteran tight ends to look up to, so I’ll be looking to learn a lot from him and my coach.”
Here’s the full video of the presser:
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) April 6, 2018