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Jones was ticketed for marijuana possession after NFC title game

Jul 03, 2015 -- 6:06pm
Screen capture/  
Datone Jones received a one-game suspension from the NFL for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He was cited for marijuana possession and paid a fine earlier this year.

GREEN BAY – According to City of Green Bay Municipal Court records, Green Bay Packers defensive end Datone Jones was ticketed for marijuana possession on Jan. 19 – the day after the Packers’ loss to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship Game – and paid an $880 fine a month later.

That would explain why Jones received a one-game suspension from the NFL on Thursday for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, meaning the third-year defensive end will miss the Packers’ Sept. 13 regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears.

According to the Green Bay Municipal Court website, Jones pleaded guilty to possession of THC and paid his fine on Feb. 10, and the case was then closed. The case is considered a civil ordinance violation, not a misdemeanor or criminal conviction.

There was confusion as to why Jones received just a one-game suspension, given that the NFL substance-abuse policy does not specifically mention what ground there would be for a one-game penalty. As pointed out by Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio Friday, St. Louis Rams running back Isaiah Pead received a one-game suspension two years ago, and it was later learned that he’d been arrested for marijuana possession.

A league source had said Thursday that a one-game suspension would indicate a violation of the policy without a positive test. An NFL spokesman did not return an email Thursday, with the Fourth of July weekend coming.

Defensive end Jones suspended one game for substance-abuse violation

Jul 02, 2015 -- 3:28pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Datone Jones has been suspended for the regular-season opener at Chicago for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.


GREEN BAY – Just a few weeks ago, during minicamp, Datone Jones acknowledged that he needed to show this season just what he’s capable of.

The Green Bay Packers’ third-year defensive end and 2013 first-round draft pick has now made that slightly harder on himself, as the NFL suspended Jones for the Packers’ Sept. 13 regular-season opener at Chicago for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.

Jones is suspended without pay for that game, and he will be eligible to return to the Packers’ active roster on Monday, Sept. 14. He is eligible to participate in all offseason and preseason practices and games.

Jones’ base salary for 2015 is $1,106,509, meaning a one-game suspension will cost him $65,088.76.

The Packers had no comment on Jones’ suspension. The NFL only announces such suspensions after all the appeals have been exhausted, so Jones' suspension will stand. It's unclear why his suspension is just one game.

Jones finished last season with 30 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one interception, then had a half-sack and four tackles and recovered a fumble in the playoffs.

“I felt like when I was healthy and I was at full-go, I was able to show guys this is what Datone Jones could provide. This is what he could do. This is how effective he could be,” Jones said during minicamp in mid-June. “You’re watching a really good guy in the making, but there’s one point where I’m down, I had to regain everything.

“I’m not really worried about any of that stuff. My biggest thing is putting that behind me now and moving forward in my career to better myself. I’ve been doing so many things to help me out with yoga, pilates. All this different stuff to keep me healthy and keep me bending and keep me flexible. I’m just as strong as I was when I was a rookie or my second year. And I’m ready to go.”

Asked about Jones’ development, defensive line coach Mike Trgovac replied, “When I look at ‘Tone, you look at the end of last year, ‘Tone made two, three, four really big plays for us. I’m really keeping my fingers crossed, because I think the kid, once he starts developing, hopefully he can stay healthy because football means a lot to him.”

Favre: Thompson sent congratulatory texts after Vikings' wins

Jul 01, 2015 -- 2:10pm
Photo/Sports Illustrated 
Brett Favre is on the cover of this week’s special Where Are They Now? issue of SI.

GREEN BAY – For all the hard feelings there were after Brett Favre’s ugly divorce from the Green Bay Packers and subsequent two-year stretch with the archrival Minnesota Vikings, the future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback got a couple of interesting text messages after he beat his former team twice during the 2009 season.

In a lengthy feature by Greg Bishop in this week’s edition of Sports Illustrated, Favre says he received congratulatory text messages from Packers general manager Ted Thompson – the same man who traded him to the New York Jets during the summer of 2008, and whom Favre railed against in an interview with FOX News’ Greta Van Susteren in the wake of Favre’s unretirement.

The story is not yet available online, but can be read in the print edition of the iconic magazine, which hit subscribers’ mailboxes Wednesday.

After both of the Vikings’ victories over the Packers in 2009 – a 30-23 victory at the Metrodome on Oct. 5 and a 38-26 triumph at Lambeau Field on Nov. 1 – Favre said he received text messages from Thompson, congratulating him.

“Great job,” one read. “You played outstanding,” read another.

Favre told Bishop that the texts were “positive, whereas when I left, I felt like [the Packers] did this media bash to make their decision look right and mine look wrong.”

Bishop also writes in the story that Favre and Thompson used to go out for beers together during the early part of Favre’s career in Green Bay at the Fifty Yard Line, a bar across Ridge Rd. from Lambeau Field that has since been razed. Thompson was general manager Ron Wolf’s right-hand man during much of Favre's career in Green Bay.

In fact, in a 2005 interview with the Wisconsin State Journal, Thompson revealed that he played a small role – sort of – in Wolf’s decision to acquire Favre in a trade with the Atlanta Falcons: Wolf had Thompson, who had been working in finance after his playing career had ended, watch film of Favre shortly after hiring him as a scout.

“I had been here about 10 days when (Wolf) came in with three game tapes from the preseason of the Atlanta Falcons, and he said, ‘I want you to look at this quarterback – his jersey number is 4, he'll probably play just in the second half – and tell me what you think,’” Thompson recalled. “I had not been involved in football for several years, so (all) I knew was his name was Brett Favre.

“So I'm flipping through ... and I go back and (Wolf) goes, ‘What do you think?’ And I said, ‘He looks like a guy who's a little bit raw but has a tremendous arm.’ And he goes, ‘I'm going to give up a first-round pick for him. Do you think that's a good idea?’ And I said, ‘Well, do you think it's a pretty good idea?’ And he goes, ‘Yeah. I do.’ And I said, ‘Well, then I do, too.’

“As long as I was here, you could always look over to Ron and say, ‘What do you think?’ He was a nice guy to have as a security blanket. Now, (I) become kind of that security blanket. I think time has helped me a lot. I think I'm more prepared now than I've ever been.”

Favre is set to have his No. 4 retired on July 18, during his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame. His name and number will be unveiled on the Lambeau Field façade at halftime of the team’s Thanksgiving game against the Chicago Bears.

Camp schedule set; fans get 17 open practices

Jun 19, 2015 -- 11:29am
Photo/Getty Images 
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers get back to work with an 8:20 a.m. practice on Thursday, July 30.

GREEN BAY – Green Bay Packers fans will have 17 opportunities – including the annual Family Night event at Lambeau Field on Aug. 8 – to see their team practice before the regular season begins Sept. 13 at Chicago.

Beginning with an 8:20 a.m. practice on Thursday, July 30, the Packers will hold seven morning practices in the first nine days of training camp – on July 30 and 31, and Aug. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7. There are no practices set for Aug. 2 or Aug. 5.

After the Family Night event – which will again be a regular practice instead of a scrimmage – on Aug. 8, Packers coach Mike McCarthy will shift to a modified in-season schedule with midday practices for the rest of camp.

The Packers will practice at 12:15 p.m. on Aug. 10, 11:45 a.m. on Aug. 11 and, after the preseason opener at New England on Aug. 13, return to practice with a 12:45 p.m. practice on Aug. 15.

After that, the Packers will have six more open-to-the-public practices amid the preseason games: Aug. 17 (12:15 p.m.); Aug. 19 (12:15 p.m.); Aug. 20 (11:45 a.m.); Aug. 25 912:15 p.m.); Aug. 26 (11:45 a.m.) and Aug. 31 (11:45 a.m.).

The Packers’ four preseason games are at New England on Aug. 13, at Pittsburgh on Aug. 23, home against Philadelphia on Aug. 29 and home against New Orleans on Sept. 3.

Other than the Family Night practice, there are no night practices scheduled for this year’s training camp.

Players report to St. Norbert College on July 29, and McCarthy will hold his annual pre-camp press conference that day as well.

Before that, legendary quarterback Brett Favre will have his No. 4 retired and be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame on July 18, and the annual Packers shareholders meeting will be held on July 28.

The full 2015 training camp schedule:
July 30 – 8:20 a.m.
July 31 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 1 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 2 – No practice
Aug. 3 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 4 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 5 – No practice
Aug. 6 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 7 – 8:20 a.m.
Aug. 8 – Family Night
Aug. 9 – No practice
Aug. 10 – 12:15 p.m.
Aug. 11 – 11:45 a.m.
Aug. 12 – No practice
Aug. 13 – Preseason game at New England
Aug. 14 – No practice
Aug. 15 – 12:45 p.m.
Aug. 16 – No practice
Aug. 17 – 12:15 p.m.
Aug. 18 – No practice
Aug. 19 – 12;15 p.m.
Aug. 20 – 11:45 a.m.
Aug. 21 – No practice
Aug. 22 – No public practice
Aug. 23 – Preseason game at Pittsburgh
Aug. 24 – No practice
Aug. 25 – 12:15 p.m.
Aug. 26 – 11:45 a.m.
Aug. 27 – No practice
Aug. 28 – No public practice
Aug. 29 – Preseason game vs. Philadelphia
Aug. 30 – No practice
Aug. 31 – 11:45 a.m.
Sept. 1 – No practice
Sept. 2 – No public practice
Sept. 3 – Preseason game vs. New Orleans

McCarthy, Zimmer agree: Ping-pong makes for a bad team-building activity

Jun 18, 2015 -- 1:43pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Mike Zimmer didn’t have his Vikings do a team-building event at minicamp, whereas Mike McCarthy did one with is Packers.

GREEN BAY – No one knows for sure if Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was thinking of Mike McCarthy and the Green Bay Packers when he said it Thursday, but the Packers head coach agrees with his NFC North colleague on this much: Ping-pong is not a good team-building exercise.

In an interview with Paul Allen on Twin Cities radio station KFAN Thursday, Zimmer said he didn’t have his players do a non-football team-building event the way some other NFL teams – including the Packers – do during minicamp because he felt his guys needed the on-field work more.

“Everybody keeps coming up to me and saying “Hey Coach, do you want to have some team-building? Are we going to have a team building day?”” Zimmer told Allen. “I said “No, we’re going to work.’ I said, ‘We’ve got a lot of work to do. We need to get better. We’re not into the team-building thing.’ In my opinion, you don’t get better by playing ping-pong. You get better by winning. And that’s how we’re going to team-build. We’re going to win.”

In his press conference after practice, Zimmer addressed the topic a second time, saying, "The thing I like about this team, not only do they work, but they have fun out here. We come out here and work. We could have team-building day and we could go play ping-pong, but we need to work and get better. Team-building by winning."

The Packers canceled Wednesday’s practice to shoot sporting clays together as their annual team-building exercise. McCarthy’s predecessor, Mike Sherman, actually started the tradition of canceling one June practice each year to do a non-football team activity, and in recent years McCarthy has had his players go skeet-shooting, bowling, play dodge ball, have a home-run derby and do other activities in past years. After taking the team clay-pigeon shooting a few years ago, then-Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz did take a clear shot at McCarthy for doing so.

The Packers have never done ping-pong as an organized team-building event, although a few players, including wide receiver Randall Cobb, did take part in a charity table tennis tournament recently in Milwaukee.

After the second half of Zimmer’s quote was read to him in his post-practice press briefing, McCarthy was asked why he thinks it’s worth giving up a practice for such events and whether it bugs him that perhaps other coaches disagree with him philosophically.

“It doesn’t bug me. That’s your opinion,” McCarthy replied. Then, he smiled and added, “I don’t think a football team would get better at team-building playing ping-pong. I agree with that. I mean, hell, only four guys can play. Football players, maybe only two.

“Hey, everybody goes about building their program and culturally doing things. Our program, we’re in Year 10, so we’ve had a chance to do some things that we feel worked, and we’ve done some things that we wouldn’t do again. I think that’s part of growing your culture and growing your program.”

Starr hopes for Lambeau Field return, with help from stem-cell therapy

Jun 17, 2015 -- 2:29pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Bart Starr, shown here at the 2011 NFL season opener, is undergoing stem-cell treatments in hopes of returning to Lambeau Field for a game.

GREEN BAY – Bart Starr’s goal is a simple one, and one that he’s willing to go to science for help on: Returning to Lambeau Field.

The Green Bay Packers’ legendary quarterback and Pro Football Hall of Famer, who suffered multiple strokes last autumn and has been working to recover since, is participating in a clinical trial involving stem-cell therapy. According to his family, the 81-year-old Starr underwent the first of two stem-cell treatments last week.

In a statement issued through the Packers public-relations department, the family said, “Following Bart’s strokes, our family began to investigate numerous therapy options. Several months ago we applied for and were accepted into a clinical trial using stem cells. Friday we safely returned home from the first of the two treatments.

“While we welcome everyone’s interest and support of Bart’s health, at this time, we’d like to allow him a chance to fully participate in the clinical trial and let the results, if any, to speak for themselves. At an appropriate time in the future, our family looks forward to sharing the details of Bart’s participation in this most important clinical exploration of what role stem cells may play in the treatment of stroke.

“Until then, we continue to thank you for all of your love and prayers. Your support has given us much strength over the past nine months. Bart joins me in sending our love and appreciation to all our special friends and fans. We are working hard toward the one goal he most cherishes: a return to Green Bay for a Packers game.”

Starr had been set to come to Lambeau Field last fall to accompany Brett Favre upon his return to the stadium where he'd played his home games for 16 of his 20 NFL seasons. After Starr fell ill, Favre canceled his visit.

Before departing on the Packers annual Tailgate Tour this spring, Favre’s former teammate, Jerry Kramer, revealed that he’d done some research on his own on stem-cell treatments after reading about hockey legend Gordie Howe’s family turned to stem cells after Howe suffered a stroke in October, 2014. Howe’s family believes the stem-cell therapy made a significant difference for the 86-year-old.

Kramer said he reached out to Starr’s wife, Cherry, and son, Bart Jr., in hopes of helping his old friend.

“I don’t know if you followed Gordie Howe’s story the last couple months, [but] Gordie had a massive stroke and he went to a stem-cell clinic down in Mexico and made a marvelous recovery, just an incredible recovery,” Kramer said in April. “So I sent Bart Jr. and Cherry all the information I could find on that clinic. Bart was having trouble walking. He was having trouble talking.

“I haven’t talked to Cherry for [awhile], but the last time I talked to her, he was home and he had gone outside by himself, and he walked around the patio by himself, and they were getting ready to go for a ride, so that was very encouraging and very hopeful. But he’s having a tough time.”

'Tough, physical' Perry fights through shoulder injury, perceptions

Jun 16, 2015 -- 10:06pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Linebacker Nick Perry has missed all of OTAs and is missing minicamp after postseason shoulder surgery.

GREEN BAY – Nick Perry never once admitted last season just how bad his shoulder injury was. Although it was bad enough to land him on the injury report – and for one of his teammates to privately say that Perry was playing “with one arm” – it only kept him out of one game, so the Green Bay Packers’ 2012 first-round pick sucked it up and kept playing.

Why? Having had his first two NFL seasons derailed by injuries – a wrist injury as a rookie and a broken foot in 2013 – Perry wasn’t about to give his critics any more ammunition. So he never admitted publicly how it was limiting him, and he ended up playing in a career-high 17 games (including playoffs), finishing with 4.5 sacks – including 1.5 in the playoffs – while playing 429 total snaps on defense.

On Tuesday, after sitting out the first of two minicamp practices, just as he’d sat out every organized team activity practice, Perry still wouldn’t say just how serious the shoulder injury was, but he acknowledged that he underwent surgery on it after the season ended. It's unclear whether he'll be ready when training camp begins July 30.

“Without a question, [the surgery] was something that had to be done,” Perry said. “We're good now. We're on the right track. So we're looking good."

Packers coach Mike McCarthy defended Perry at the start of offseason practices, saying that those who think Perry is an injury-prone disappointment don’t know the real story.

“I’ll say this: The way people are represented sometimes away from work as opposed to inside the workplace is sometimes different, and I think that’s clearly the case [with Perry],” McCarthy said. “I’m not totally aware of what the outside world thinks, but Nick Perry is a tough, physical football player. Just ask his teammates.

“What he played through this past year, it was significant. I think it says a lot about him. He’s had some tough moments in the first two years of his career, but the guys that practice against him, the guys that he plays with and the guys in the locker room every day, they have a lot of respect for him. And clearly I do.”

Nonetheless, the Packers opted not to pick up the fifth-year option on his contract, meaning Perry will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. With Clay Matthews continuing to split his time between inside and outside linebacker, Perry figures to be in line for more playing time as part of the outside linebacker rotation with Matthews, Julius Peppers and Mike Neal again this season. And if he stays healthy and plays to his potential, he could land himself a very good second contract – from the Packers or another NFL team.

“It's pretty frustrating knowing the opportunities [I’ve had], knowing how great I can be and just looking behind me and seeing some of those lagging issues over the past I wish weren't there," Perry said. "But it's football. I don't have any control over it. Freakish stuff happens. You just have to keep playing."

McCarthy: Team bonding day worth giving up practice time

Jun 16, 2015 -- 8:08pm
Mike McCarthy took his players skeet-shooting in 2012 as a team-bonding exercise. In 2013, rain forced them to play dodge ball instead.

GREEN BAY – Alex Van Pelt and Aaron Rodgers don’t know what head coach Mike McCarthy has planned for the Green Bay Packers’ annual minicamp team-bonding activity. But the Packers quarterbacks/wide receivers coach and the NFL MVP know what the activity won’t be.

“I think dodgeball’s probably out based on some of the things that’s happened the last couple of times we’ve done that,” Rodgers said with a smirk Tuesday.

One of those things that happened in 2013, when rain canceled the Packers’ scheduled skeet-shooting adventure and forced them inside the Lambeau Field gym to play dodgeball: Van Pelt ruptured his Achilles’ during one of the games.

“I told Mike, ‘I’m not running, I’m not jumping, I’m not doing anything,’” Van Pelt, who played nine NFL seasons as a part-time starter and backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills, said with a laugh. “I’m getting out of here healthy this year. Whatever it is, it’s not going to involve any exercise by me.”

McCarthy wouldn’t divulge what he has planned, and Rodgers said the players don’t know yet, either.

“Mike does a great job of putting these events together to do some bonding. And there’s been some fun stuff,” Rodgers said. “We’ve done some bowling over the years and some skeet shooting. It’s a lot of fun. I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to be. I actually don’t. I wish I did so I could have a little inside info, but we’ll see what it is.”

One thing McCarthy is sure of: That giving up one of the team’s three allotted minicamp practices – even given his frustration with the practice limitations enacted as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement with the NFL Players Association – is well worth it. In 2012, after he took the team to shoot sporting clays, then-Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz took a shot at him for wasting a practice.

“Because to me, people win, people lose,” McCarthy replied Tuesday when asked why the bonding trip is worth the tradeoff. “The opportunity that our players will have tomorrow, they’ll be in groups of four, maybe five, and there’ll be guys that ride in a cart with Aaron Rodgers or with someone they’ve never really had a conversation with.

“This is about culture, it’s about developing the bonding between your players and coaches and support staff. So it’s very important.”

Although the “in a cart” reference would lead one to believe that the Packers are having a team golf outing, that’s apparently not what McCarthy has planned.

Done with school, Montgomery gets to work

Jun 16, 2015 -- 3:57pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Ty Montgomery missed most of OTAs while finishing his coursework at Stanford.

GREEN BAY – As proud as Ty Montgomery is of newly minted Stanford degree in political science, the Green Bay Packers rookie wide receiver did not enjoy having to miss most of the offseason program while finishing up school.

“It just sucked. It kind of felt like being grounded. All your other friends get to go play, and you’re grounded,” the Packers third-round draft pick said following Tuesday’s minicamp practice. “But graduation means a lot. Not only to me, but my family. That Stanford degree can never be taken away from you. I’ll get old, I’ll be done playing football, but that Stanford degree is not going anywhere.

“That being said, I did want to be out here. A lot.”

Even had Montgomery dropped out of school in advance of the NFL Scouting Combine in February to focus on his pro career and decided not to finish his final semester, he still wouldn’t have been able to participate in the Packers’ organized team activity practices or offseason strength and conditioning program. NFL rules stipulate that players cannot take part in any work with their new teams – beyond the post-draft rookie camp – until after their school lets out.

Because Stanford is one of a handful of schools on the quarters system, players from there have to wait until classes are over in early June. Montgomery’s college teammate, linebacker James Vaughters, also missed time after the Packers’ rookie camp for the same reason. Montgomery also took part in the annual NFL Players Association Rookie Premiere event in Los Angeles during the first week of OTAs, along with rookie quarterback Brett Hundley, but Montgomery would have missed that practice time even had he not been at that event.

The Packers coaches weren’t too worried about Montgomery falling behind during his time away, and through three practices – Montgomery took part in last Thursday and Friday’s OTAs before practicing on Tuesday – it appears their faith was well-placed.

“I thought Ty looked excellent,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He had a very good practice Friday, and I thought he had another good practice today. He does some things very natural. He’s picked it up really quick, especially for someone that hasn’t been here.”

Added wide receiver Randall Cobb: “He’s a smart guy. He’s picked up on things very, very quick. He’s very detailed. You can tell in meetings he asks a lot of questions, which is good. Instead of not knowing what to do and sitting there … he’s asking questions and learning and [that’s] huge for a guy coming in.”

Even Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who attended archrival California-Berkeley, has been impressed.

“It’s only been a couple days, [so] I think you have to temper your expectations, but seems to be a real good kid -- other than his college choice,” Rodgers joked. “Seems to be pretty intelligent. Obviously has the body type to do some things that we like around here. Looks to be athletic, quick, has caught the ball well. But it’s two days. We’re not going to put too high of expectations for him or give up on him too early, either. I think he has a bright future with us.”

While Montgomery has made a good first impression, he didn’t feel that way on Tuesday.

“I still felt behind,” Montgomery said. “I gave myself two goals today – three goals, really: It was to play fast, play with confidence – that meaning if I make a mistake, make it full speed – and then to finish every play. I still fell behind. I think I missed seven OTAs, and I’m trying to learn seven or eight installs in two days. Then, I’ve got a weekend on my own to learn it, because I [was] basically graduating all day Sunday.”

To make sure Montgomery wasn’t at too big a disadvantage, the coaches let him take his iPad playbook with him and sent him content every day.

“I was basically going through about 400 slides of install on my own every day that I could,” Montgomery said. “I did what I could.

“I was actually talking to one of the other receivers today about that, a little bit of that pressure, ‘Oh, you know, he’s a Stanford guy. He knows the plays.’ But thankfully we have the type of guys that we have here that have no issues helping me out if I have any questions.”

Challenged last year, Adams has Rodgers excited

Jun 10, 2015 -- 11:08pm
Photo/Getty Images 
Aaron Rodgers had high praise Wednesday for Davante Adams, whom he believes is on the cusp of a big second season.

GREEN BAY – To appreciate just how high of public praise Aaron Rodgers on Wednesday afternoon to second-year wide receiver Davante Adams, you have to rewind to roughly 14 months ago. That’s when the Green Bay Packers quarterback issued a not-so-subtle training-camp edict– to the then-rookie second-round pick and other young players – that they’d better focus on the mental part of the game or he wanted nothing to do with them.

“We’re not quite going to be on the same page every single time, but if you cannot line up right, if you can’t get the checks, and if you can’t get what you’re supposed to do every time, then there’s no way you can possibly be on the field when I’m out there,” Rodgers said then. “If those guys can’t cut it, then there’s no way they can possibly be on the field. It doesn’t matter how physically talented they are.”

As the 2014 season wore on, Adams grew on Rodgers, who eventually saw what he wanted to see from the rookie – not only in Adams two big games (six catches for 121 yards against New England and seven catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in the NFC Divisional Playoffs against Dallas), but also in how he handled his not-so-big games.

That maturity – combined with Adams’ natural talent, physical dimensions, athleticism and commitment to learning the offense inside and out – has Rodgers convinced that Adams is headed for big things in 2015, even with Pro Bowl receivers Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb at his position. A little over a year after he’d challenged Adams – although not by name – to step up his preparation, Rodgers couldn’t stop talking Wednesday about the approach Adams is taking to his job now.

“In my mind, he has humongous upside – and he’s starting to reach that upside,” Rodgers said after the team’s open-to-the-public organized team activity practice. “I think the opportunities are going to come for him. He’s got two great guys to play with. His attention to detail is very impressive and his approach.

“Obviously, the athleticism – as you see on Twitter with his 360, between-the-legs dunk – is incredible. He brings a different set of skills to the field that we haven’t seen around here with his body type, his athleticism and his approach. If you look at the guys who’ve struck around here and gotten second and third contracts, it’s guys who really understand how to make this work for them – the game within the game: The note-taking, the preparation, the study habits, the focus, the practice habits.

“Look at the two guys in this room (Nelson and Cobb) who had phenomenal seasons last year. They both have a great approach to their job and you’re seeing Davante really do that. The biggest example to me of the kind of guy that he is, is last year when he went through stretches where he didn’t catch the ball, has a huge game against New England, then goes through stretches again where he doesn’t get a lot of balls thrown his way, then has a big game against Dallas. That’s all about approach and focus. And you can’t teach that.”

Adams, who caught 38 passes for 446 yards and three TDs in regular-season play and eight passes for 124 yards and another TD in the playoffs, wasn’t in the locker room during the media access period Wednesday. But last week, he spoke of what it meant to him to have gained Rodgers’ confidence.

“It’s big, because that’s the type of thing that’s going to keep me fine-tuning my own game because I see a guy [in] a future yellow jacket [from the Pro Football Hall of Fame] who’s got faith in the young guy,” Adams said. “That means a lot to me. We’ve communicated a lot in the locker room and the film room, and on the field obviously. So when a guy like that come to me in clutch situations, it makes me want to push myself even more.”

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