After attention for dining with Aaron Rodgers, rookie Devonte Wyatt aims to stand out with his play (2022)

JASON WILDEFor the State Journal

GREEN BAY — Devonte Wyatt generated a lot of interest toward the end of training camp — but not for what the Green Bay Packers first-round draft pick was doing on the field.

No, after quarterback Aaron Rodgers told the world Wyatt had been his lunch mate in the Lambeau Field cafeteria several times during training camp, well, the rookie defensive tackle was suddenly a popular guy.

Rodgers had been discussing how he uses lunchtime as a getting-to-know-you opportunity with young players, and how he’d intentionally targeted rookie wide receiver Romeo Doubs for such midday chats, knowing how vital the fourth-round pick likely will be to the offense’s success this season.

Then, Rodgers mentioned in passing that sometimes he purposely sits alone, curious to see who might sidle up to him. Asked who’d been brave enough to plop down at his table, Rodgers smiled and immediately mentioned Wyatt.

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“I was teasing him a few weeks ago. I said, ‘I watched on the packers.com, they asked the rookies who’s the funniest rookie, and the majority of the guys said you.’ And I said, ‘I haven’t seen it yet,’” Rodgers explained. “So the next day, he came and sat next to me at lunch. We had a nice conversation. I really enjoy him.”

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A day after that revelation, a group of reporters approached Wyatt in the locker room to ask him about his dining with a future Pro Football Hall of Famer. But as part of that conversation, Wyatt offered a painfully honest assessment of his first training camp.

For as proud as he might’ve been of his sit-downs with Rodgers — “I learn every day I sit with him,” Wyatt said, before politely bragging, “I do crack him up sometimes” — he did not feel the same way about his play.

“Not really,” Wyatt replied when asked if he felt OK about how performance so far in camp. “Mindset-wise, it’s not OK because I do want to develop fast and be on the field with the guys and experience that. But I’m not trying to rush it, because if I rush it, I’m going to keep (expletive) up and (expletive) up and (expletive) up.

“I’ve just got to take my time, be patient, take it step-by-step and just detail after detail. The predicament I’m in right now, I’m not mad because I got the guys in front of me, (and I’m) learning from them. And when my time comes, I know I’m going to shine. My wings are going to open.”

Wyatt was the No. 28 overall pick and second of the Packers’ two first-round picks in the NFL draft in the spring; the team took his college teammate at Georgia, inside linebacker Quay Walker, six picks earlier. While Walker ran with the starters from Day 1 of camp, Wyatt worked with the second unit behind veterans Kenny Clark, Jarran Reed and Dean Lowry. Second-year man T.J. Slaton, a fifth-round pick a year ago, also is ahead of him in the rotation.

So as the Sept. 11 regular-season opener at Minnesota approaches, Walker is poised to start alongside first-team All-Pro linebacker De’Vondre Campbell in the middle of the Packers’ defense. Wyatt? He might not even suit up for the game, and if he does, he is at the back of the defensive line rotation.

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While Walker started all three of the preseason games — the only expected opening-day starter who did so — and registered seven tackles (four solo) in 39 total snaps, Wyatt was held out of the preseason opener at San Francisco as a precaution after being evaluated for a concussion earlier that week. In the final two preseason games, he played 53 defensive snaps and registered one tackle.

And with Campbell sitting out the preseason with the rest of the bubble-wrapped starters, Walker also was the on-field defensive play-caller and huddle leader, giving him even more valuable in-game experience

“I think it’s helped me a whole lot. It’s allowed me to put a lot of stuff on my shoulders and be a guy the defense can look to,” Walker said after last week’s loss in Kansas City. “Me relaying the calls (from defensive coordinator Joe Barry), that’s pretty much building my confidence and allowing me to get more prepared for the season.

“Everything has pretty much slowed down for me because that was my third preseason game. You can pretty much tell. I wanted to keep going, but I got pulled out. Other than that, everything was pretty good.”

While he didn’t necessarily say it at the time, general manager Brian Gutekunst drafted Walker in part because the Packers wanted to big, rangy, athletic inside linebackers at the heart of their defense, which would give Barry a bevy of personnel grouping options — including just keeping Campbell and Walker on the field full-time instead of using dime (six defensive backs) personnel.

Having had to game-plan for such defenses himself, coach Matt LaFleur loved the idea of Campbell and Walker making life difficult for other offensive play-callers.

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“I love watching him run. He’s a big guy that can move, run sideline-to-sideline,” LaFleur said of Walker. “It’s going to be fun to watch him paired up next to another ‘creature’ (in Campbell) and have two 6-foot-3 plus linebackers in there that can really run and are very good players.”

Meanwhile, knowing the veterans he had up front, Gutekunst didn’t draft Wyatt with the need of playing him immediately.

Still, Wyatt knows the expectations that come with being a first-round pick. While his situation isn’t dissimilar to what Rashan Gary’s rookie season in 2019 looked like — he played sparingly behind Za’Darius and Preston Smith but now has emerged as a top-flight pass-rusher — he knows there’ll be second-guessers if he doesn’t contribute immediately, just as Gary endured as a rookie.

“A lot of guys tell me, don’t put pressure on yourself because when you put pressure on something, you’ll mentally break,” Wyatt said. “We’ve got a long season and I’m not trying to put pressure on myself, but I am at the same time because I want to prove that I’m supposed to be here. And I want to be one of the greats.”

Wyatt also admitted that in college at Georgia it took him awhile to get acclimated. So while he doesn’t want his biggest contributions to be picking up snacks for meetings — a rite of passage for all rookies at all positions, not just Wyatt and the defensive linemen — he also knows that his college career took off once he got comfortable, the game started slowing down for him and he started playing instead of thinking as much on each play as he is now.

“I just think a lot when I get on the field and I’m like, ‘What’ve I got to do?’ So I’m always all over the place,” Wyatt said. “But once it all click in, it’ll be better.

“(At) Georgia, I was comfortable, having fun, beating guys. I feel like a freshman when you go to college. That’s how I’m treating it, just trying to develop every day, every week.

“It took me, I’d say, about a year. That second year, I started clicking and moving fast and doing things, and I started moving up on the depth chart. So I’d just say, you never know. It might be fifth game of this year, 12th, 18th game, 24th game. You never know.”

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NOTES: The New York Giants have released inside linebacker Blake Martinez less than a year after the former defensive captain sustained a torn ACL, the Associated Press reported. Martinez joined the Giants as a free agent in 2020 after four seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

FAQs

What did Aaron Rodgers accomplish? ›

Career Highlights: Aaron Rodgers is a four-time NFL Most Valuable Player, a Super Bowl champion, and one of the NFL's all-time elite quarterbacks. A 17-year NFL veteran with the Green Bay Packers, Rodgers is a 10-time Pro Bowler, four-time First-Team All-Pro (including 2021), and was named Second-Team All-Pro once.

What made Aaron Rodgers famous? ›

Aaron Rodgers, in full Aaron Charles Rodgers, (born December 2, 1983, Chico, California, U.S.), American professional gridiron football quarterback who is considered one of the greatest to ever play the position. He led the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League (NFL) to a Super Bowl championship in 2011.

What does it mean when Aaron Rodgers says 319? ›

Green Bay Packers fans think Aaron Rodgers always says “319,” but he's actually shouting out “Green 19.” The call, often overheard during TV broadcasts of Packers games, is part of the cadence the athlete uses to communicate with his teammates. “Actually, he says 'Green 19,' not '319.

How rich is Aaron Rodgers? ›

As of October 2022, Aaron Rodgers' net worth is estimated to be roughly $200 Million. Aaron Charles Rodgers is an American football quarterback in the National Football League (NFL).

What kind of car does Aaron Rodgers Drive? ›

The Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero

Aaron Rodgers owns a Mercedes-Benz Maybach Exelero. The car debuted about 17 years ago.

Did Aaron Rodgers go to his brother's wedding? ›

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers does not have the best relationship with his family. So much so that the reigning NFL MVP decided to skip his younger brother's wedding. Jordan tied the knot with Bachelorette partner JoJo Fletcher, but the Packers star was nowhere to be seen, despite getting an invitation.

Who has the most Super Bowl rings? ›

Which NFL player has the most Super Bowl rings? Tom Brady. There's a reason Brady is so often billed as the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T., if you will). He has reached the Super Bowl 10 times (9 with New England and one with Tampa Bay) and has won a record seven Super Bowls.

Does Aaron Rodgers have diabetes? ›

Since a young boy he always dreamed of being a Super Bowl quarterback, but his health issues dashed those hopes. He said he has been struggling with walking lately and suffers from Type 1 Diabetes, so to get his No.

How many kids does Aaron Rodgers have? ›

Quick Facts
Full NameShailene Diann Woodley
FianceAaron Rodgers
KidsNone
ProfessionActress
Active Years1999-present
22 more rows
26 Jun 2022

How much money does Aaron Rodgers make from State Farm commercials? ›

His notable State Farm commercials are part of an estimated $2-3 million deal, which is “one of the richest endorsement deals in the NFL,” according to Forbes.

Who is the richest NFL player? ›

Staubach led his team to the Super Bowl five times. He also led the Cowboys to victories in Super Bowl VI and Super Bowl XII. Staubach was named Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl VI. As of October 2022, Roger Staubach's net worth is $600 million, making him the richest NFL player in the world.

What is Tom Brady's salary? ›

Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has decided to return for a 23rd season in the NFL and a third with the team on a fully guaranteed one-year, $15 million contract.

Why does a quarterback lift his leg? ›

Quarterbacks will lift their legs in the air to signal to their center to snap the football. This is often called a leg cadence, as no verbal words are spoken. This type of cadence is typically used in loud stadiums where verbal cadences can't be heard.

What is the quarterback yelling? ›

When watching NFL games, it's common to hear the quarterback say White 80 before the ball is snapped. This can often be mistaken by viewers as “180”. Quarterbacks yell white 80 as a cadence to tell the center when to snap the football. When he says white 80, it lets the offense know he is ready to start the play.

Do quarterbacks call their own plays? ›

Quarterbacks are members of the offensive platoon and mostly line up directly behind the offensive line. In modern American football, the quarterback is usually considered the leader of the offense, and is often responsible for calling the play in the huddle.

What kind of car does Tom Brady drive? ›

While Brady says the Ford F-150 Raptor is the perfect vehicle for NFL players, he also enjoys driving his Tesla because it's 'cool' not to have to stop for gas. "I love the fact that I have the Raptor and I can drive it, but I also love the fact that I'll have an EV, too.

Does Aaron Rodgers have a Tesla? ›

As of the end of 2019, Aaron Rodgers owns five cars: a Ford Mustang sports car, a Ford pickup truck, a Tesla Car, a Chevrolet Camaro, and a Mercedes-Benz.

What did Aaron Rodgers buy his offensive line? ›

Aaron Rodgers purchased Polaris ATVs for his offensive line after winning the MVP as a gift for protecting him through the season.

Why didn't Aaron Rodgers attend brothers wedding? ›

That said, according to SideAction.com, Aaron skipped his brother's wedding nevertheless. “Jordan Rodgers and Jojo felt it was the right thing to do. He wanted to extend the invite as an olive branch,” the report read.

Does Aaron Rodgers speak to his family? ›

Aaron Rodgers and his family have been estranged for a while now. Ever since Aaron Rodgers' brother Jordan appeared on The Bachelorette back in 2016, it has become clear that he no longer talks to his family.

How much does Jordan Rodgers make? ›

$420,000

What record did Aaron Rodgers break? ›

Rodgers is also the highest-rated passer in NFL history. Rodgers has the highest completion percentage in team history, too, with a 65.7 percent mark. Favre is second again at 61.42 percent. Rodgers has the record for the most yards passing in a season as well, with 4,643 in 2012.

How many Super Bowls did Aaron Rodgers play in? ›

Aaron Rodgers has played in 1 game in Super Bowls in his career.

Does Aaron Rodgers own the bears? ›

Aaron Rodgers famously declared himself an unofficial owner of the Chicago Bears. At one point it appeared he was willing to give up his stake in the Bears and leave the Green Bay Packers via trade or retirement. Now it appears the four-time NFL MVP quarterback might be coming back to the Green Bay Packers.

Does Aaron Rodgers have a child? ›

Well, they revealed their relationship back in February 2021 as Aaron thanked his “fiancée” while accepting the MVP award at the NFL Honors.
...
Quick Facts.
Full NameShailene Diann Woodley
FianceAaron Rodgers
KidsNone
ProfessionActress
Active Years1999-present
22 more rows
26 Jun 2022

Who's a better quarterback Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers? ›

Brady has won seven Super Bowls and Rodgers has won just one, so most observers feel Brady is the best quarterback in history. But Rodgers has won four MVP awards to three for Brady, and only Peyton Manning, with five MVPs, has won more than Rodgers.

What QB holds the most records? ›

In the NFL, the starting quarterback is the only position that is credited with records of wins and losses. Tom Brady holds the record for the most regular season wins with 246. Otto Graham holds the record for the highest winning percentage with a minimum of 50 starts at . 814 (57–13–1).

Who has the highest QB rating of all time? ›

Aaron Rodgers

What QB has lost the most NFC championship games? ›

Aaron Rodgers, Donovan McNabb and Steve Young are tied for losing the most career games by a quarterback in NFC championships, with 4 losses.

What quarterback has lost the most playoff games? ›

Peyton Manning has lost the most career games by a quarterback in the playoffs, with 13 losses.

How many times have the Packers been the 1 seed? ›

The Packers have earned the No. 1 seed three times since 2008, the most in the NFC.

How much of the Bucks Does Aaron Rodgers own? ›

The Packers quarterback became the first active NFL athlete to take a minority ownership stake in an NBA team. Rodgers owns 1% of the Milwaukee Bucks.

What is the oldest rivalry in the NFL? ›

Green Bay Packers VS Chicago Bears

Known as "the oldest rivalry in the NFL," there is no team that has more history than these two. To understand why it is considered a historic rivalry, you have to go back to 1921.

How Much Does Aaron Rodgers own of the Chicago Bears? ›

Despite his spiel at Soldier Field, Aaron Rodgers does not own the Bears. The person who actually owns the Chicago Bears is Virginia Halas McCaskey.

Does Aaron Rodgers talk to his family now? ›

Aaron Rodgers and his family have been estranged for a while now. Ever since Aaron Rodgers' brother Jordan appeared on The Bachelorette back in 2016, it has become clear that he no longer talks to his family.

Are Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers married? ›

Aaron Rodgers and Shailene Woodley are no longer a couple. The Green Bay Packers quarterback and the Hollywood actress got engaged earlier in the pandemic.

Who does Aaron Rodgers date? ›

March 8, 2022: Shailene Woodley and Aaron Rodgers are spotted together. Less than two weeks after Rodgers called Woodley his partner, the couple was photographed together in Palm Beach, Florida.

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