For Rogers, The Decision Was Easy

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When Tyrone Rogers originally signed with Cleveland in 1999 as an undrafted free agent, all he wanted to do was make the team.

Rogers accomplished that goal and then some.

Despite weighing only 236 pounds in his first training camp with the Browns, Rogers impressed the organization enough to land a spot on the practice squad. Eventually Rogers maneuvered his way to the active roster and played five seasons, amassing 12 sacks during that time.

Although he and the Browns parted ways in early June, Rogers didn't panic. He said he knew he would find a home eventually, but he wanted to make sure it was with a team that contends for a Super Bowl every season.

When asked why Rogers chose the Packers he just smiles and looks in the direction of Brett Favre's locker. He admitted that No. 4 was as big a reason to sign with the team as any.

"The Packers are in the playoffs every year and with Brett Favre at the helm, they always are contenders and have a chance to get to the Super Bowl," Rogers explained. "I just want to be a part of that and do whatever I can to help the team get a Super Bowl ring."

Many players would show bitterness toward their former team, but Rogers isn't one of them. In fact, he admitted that he didn't think his time with the Browns would last forever.

"Teams always consider what they think is an upgrade," Rogers said. "They are always looking to do different things. I'm not bitter about that and I have no ill will against them. That's the way the business is.

"They wanted to go a different way and I had played five years there and enjoyed my time in Cleveland. Change is always good and bad. I'm a Packer now and I'm glad to be here."

Right now, the Packers are also glad Rogers decided to join their squad.

"He's handled himself well," defensive line coach Jethro Franklin said. "He continues to make progress and will be right in the mix to compete for a (roster) spot. He's just got to make plays when given the chance."

Certainly, Franklin's advice set in with Rogers. In the team's 19-14 preseason win over the New Orleans Saints, Rogers had an eye opening performance. Playing most of the second half, Rogers came up with two sacks, an interception, a pass defensed and a forced fumble.

"It felt good," Rogers said. "For the most part I fell like I've had a quiet camp in practice. But with the last two preseason games, I feel like I played well, graded out pretty well and made some plays."

It would have been easy for Rogers to bask in the glory of his strong performance, but than again, that's not Rogers' style. He'd rather give credit where it is due.

"One person never does it all by themselves," Rogers explained. "The play calling by Coach Slowik confused the offense and put us in good situations. Kenny Peterson also put pressure on the quarterback (on Rogers' interception), which caused the ball to go into the air.

"It's just a tribute to the 11 guys on the defense. They are doing their job and that just makes everyone else's job a little easier. The fans may see the person who makes the particular play, but it's always a team effort that causes it to happen."

Rogers knows that in order to make the final roster he will have to have more performances like the one against the Saints, but he's not about to worry about his roster fate.

"Obviously when you get an opportunity to play and you make plays, you just want to catch the coach's eye," Rogers said. "I try not to worry myself about the things I can't control. The only thing I can control is the effort and the plays I make on the field. So I let the coaches make the roster decisions.

"But I know how to play this game and I've proven it by going out there and doing some good things. I hope the coaches recognize that, but in the same hand I don't worry about it. I just try to go out there and give it my best. If my best is not good enough, then hey, so be it."

Rogers' best year came in 2001 when he started 10 games and posted career highs in tackles (41), sacks (six) and passes defensed (three). Although that was three years ago, Rogers believes he can return to that form with the Packers if he is given a chance.

"Absolutely, I know I can play like that again," Rogers insists. "That particular year, I had the opportunity to play. I started nine or ten games and had the opportunity to be on the field and make plays.

"Sometimes when you have limited plays, it's a little bit more difficult to do it, but I definitely have the capability. When you get the opportunity to make plays, you just have to make it happen."

Rogers looks forward to making it happen in Green Bay for the Packers and their fans.

"I've always heard great things about these fans and the city of Green Bay and it's showing," Rogers said. "They are very loyal. Sometimes you leave here late at night and the fans are still here wanting to see the Packers and get autographs. Having fans just lining up outside the fence and riding the bicycles is something I have never seen before."

From being an undrafted free agent on the practice squad to being a part of Green Bay's roster, it's easy to understand why Rogers considers himself fortunate. He said that playing in the NFL was always a dream while growing up.

"One of my best friends that I grew up with, Fred Beasley of the 49ers, we always played football in the backyard," Rogers said. "It was always something that we dreamed of. I guess with our competitiveness and growing up together, we kept each other going.

"We just continued to love the game and I always dreamed of playing in the NFL. As I got older I knew the possibilities were slim so I concentrated on my education. I've been blessed to be in this league for six years."

If things go his way, Rogers' dream of playing in the NFL will live on. Only this time it will be as a Green Bay Packer.

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