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Five things learned at Packers training camp – July 31

It’s a dream come true for Amari Rodgers to call Randall Cobb a teammate

WR Randall Cobb & Amari Rodgers
WR Randall Cobb & Amari Rodgers

GREEN BAY – The Packers hit the practice field one more time on Saturday before a mandatory off day for players leaguewide.

Here are five things we learned:

1. It's a "dream come true" for Amari Rodgers to call Randall Cobb his teammate.

Rodgers had heard the rumblings on social media that his close friend and mentor might be joining him in Green Bay, but it wasn't until the rookie receiver got a text from the man himself that Rodgers knew it was a done deal.

Rodgers has viewed Cobb as a "big brother" for almost half his life. As a child, he watched Cobb play at Alcoa (Tenn.) High School and then got to train with him at the University of Kentucky, where Rodgers' father, Tee Martin, coached Cobb.

The two continued to talk over the years, with Cobb imparting wisdom onto Rodgers after switching from running back to receiver. Fittingly, after Rodgers was drafted in the third round by the Packers in April, Cobb was one of the first to text his congratulations.

"It's a dream come true, to be honest," said Rodgers after Saturday's practice. "I remember being a kid and just being able to work out with him. I thought it was the most amazing thing ever. I thought I was working out with LeBron because he was the best athlete that I'd seen at that moment in our group in Knoxville where he played high school."

Rodgers said his dad, currently in his first season as a receivers coach with the Baltimore Ravens, was excited to hear the news. So much so Martin posted a picture of the three on his Instagram page, to which Cobb replied: "Family affair."

Cobb took a liking to Rodgers because of how eager the youngster was to learn, even if it meant running ladder drills or doing conditioning exercises.

Asked about his work ethic back then, Rodgers said his motivation was simple. His father won a national championship as a quarterback at Tennessee and Amari wanted to prove to everyone that he's "the player that everybody expects me to be."

"Every single week I step out on the field trying to prove that I am Amari Rodgers and I'm not just Tee Martin's son," Rodgers said. "That's been my goal my whole career, just to make my name for myself. That's truly what drives me every single day. When I step on the field, in my mind, I'm trying to get better because I want to make a name for myself, I want to build my own legacy vs. my dad's own thing. It's time for me to do my thing."

Asked about Cobb's return possibly cutting into his own snaps this year, Rodgers said he's not concerned about that whatsoever. However, there was one point of contention he had with his new teammate – Cobb (who's listed at 5-10) mentioning on Friday that Rodgers (listed at 5-9) is one of the few NFL players who physically looks up to him.

"Is he? I don't know," said Rodgers, when asked about Cobb being the taller of the two. "If we took our shoes off, I feel like I've got him. I don't know. His cleats might be higher than mine. I don't know."

2. AJ Dillon hopes to someday get a key to Door County.

The second-year running back quickly has made himself at home in northeastern Wisconsin.

The love affair began shortly after Dillon moved to the area after being drafted in the second round a year ago. He didn't know anyone and had no furniture to speak of, but Dillon was in Green Bay and posted on his Instagram that he was in town.

Next thing you know, the messages started flooding in.

"I had people offering me lasagna, food, all types of stuff and I'm from the city," Dillon said. "I'm like, 'I don't know if I'm gonna take people's food,' but it speaks to the type of people you have here and the type of fans that we have here. They're willing to go above and beyond."

More specifically, Dillon has enjoyed spending time in the Door County Peninsula. The area (identified as "the thumb" on a Wisconsin map) is known for its restaurants and tourism.

"My goal when it's all said and done, when I'm done playing football, I want a key to Door County, at least Fish Creek, something like that," Dillon said. "I just really enjoy it."

3. Rashan Gary likes what Joe Barry has brought to the Packers' defense.

The third-year linebacker confirmed All-Pro Jaire Alexander's claim on Friday that the new defensive coordinator has been tackling the air all the way to the ground to help reinforce his teaching points in the meeting room.

As someone who ran over to the second-team defense on Saturday to help amp up his teammates, Gary appreciates the high-octane approach Barry has brought.

"I love him," said Gary, who had 35 tackles and five sacks last season. "He challenged us to be consistent and to be the best players that we can each and every day. If we don't have the juice one day, he's bringing it so we're always working and always pushing to be consistent."

4. Josh Jackson gets some extra work with the starting defense.

With Alexander taking it easy on Saturday, fourth-year cornerback Josh Jackson lined up opposite rookie first-round pick Eric Stokes in the first-team secondary.

Jackson, who was a second-round pick in 2018, made five starts last year and is looking for a fresh start under Barry.

5. The Packers will put on the pads Tuesday.

The Packers will return to the practice field on Monday after a mandatory off day for players but won't conduct their first padded practice until Tuesday due to stipulations in the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Green Bay Packers practiced on Ray Nitschke Field on Saturday, July 31, 2021.