HENDERSON, Nev. (AP)Davante Adams made it a point to not only leave on good terms, but to stay in touch with Green Bay’s coaching staff, front office and the players who remain from that team two years ago.
The timing and not the relationships, he said, was the reason he moved on after eight seasons of catching passes from Aaron Rodgers.
But don’t expect Adams to become overly sentimental when the Packers visit Las Vegas on Monday night and Adams takes the field against his former team for the first time since being traded to the Raiders last year.
Adams didn’t practice Thursday and Friday because of a shoulder injury, but spoke with reporters as if he would play.
“Once the game starts, it’s just like every other game,” Adams said. “It’s not going to be a whole lot of emotion and all that other stuff tied up in it once the clock is ticking.”
It was in Green Bay that Adams developed into one of the NFL’s top receivers. In three of his final four seasons there, he caught more than 100 passes for more than 1,000 yards.
“He played through a contract year, played injured and not everybody does that,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. “He was there for our team. He fought through things. He went out there and he told me before the season, he’s like, ‘Hey, listen, I don’t have a contract before the season, you don’t have to worry about it because I’m going to come out there and compete.’”
Adams wanted a long-term deal to stay with the Packers, but didn’t get the offer that satisfied him.
The Packers placed the franchise tag on Adams on March 8, 2022, and then signed Rodgers to a contract extension a week later.
Two days after that, Adams was on his way to Las Vegas after the Raiders traded their 2022 first- and second-round picks to acquire him.
The Raiders made him the league’s highest-paid receiver with a five-year, $141.25 million contract.
“It was obviously a lot of limbo with Aaron and deciding what his future was going to be like playing football, let alone on that team,” Adams said.
“So it wasn’t really a risk that I could take at the time, and it was a decision that had to be made. But had they made the correct offer or submitted something like they did right before I left, then I would have 100 percent been there for another year and then we would obviously see what happened as it moved forward.”
Part of Adams’ motivation for wanting to move to Las Vegas was the opportunity to once again play with his former Fresno State teammate Derek Carr as well as be closer to his family in California.
The first part didn’t pan out as well as he would’ve liked because the Raiders benched Carr with two games left in the season, and the quarterback later signed with the New Orleans Saints.
Regardless, Adams did not disappoint last season in catching 100 passes for 1,516 yards and 14 touchdowns. He’s off to a sizzling start this season with 33 receptions for 397 yards and three TDs.
“It’s pretty evident he’s the best in the league,” Packers cornerback Jaire Alexander said.
Alexander likely will spend a lot of time defending Adams, using his experience from when they practiced daily against each other.
Adams called Alexander “one of the most locked-in players” he’s known because of his commitment to maximizing his abilities. Alexander would immediately study his iPad after practice and hit up Adams with questions.
Facing Alexander will “definitely be different than any head-to-head I’ve had in the past,” Adams said. “But it’ll be just like the other ones in the sense that we’re not going to be lined up across from each other every play. He’s not going to follow me, probably, every single play, and that’s just by their defensive scheme.
“It’s just really not how the game is played too much these days. You don’t really see one guy just going wherever the guy is because it gives up a lot of tells of what the defense is doing and just the way that they scheme. So the times that we’ll have, we’ll definitely go and compete.”
The Packers saw him in practice and in games for eight years. They know how tough Adams is to defend.
“I don’t know if there’s a lot to help against a player of that caliber,” LaFleur said. “If he’s not the best, he’s certainly right there. Every time he goes out on the field, every snap, you better know where he’s aligned, you better have a plan for him because he can take over a game.
“We’ve seen it first hand over the years, and I think just some of the plays he’s made this season, these four games, have been unbelievable. But it doesn’t ever surprise me because I’ve seen him do it for years.”
AP Sports Writer Steve Megargee contributed to this report.
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