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Five Things To Know About Tight End Richard Rodgers

Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) catches a 61-yard Hail Mary throw with no time remaining to beat the Lions 27-23 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
Green Bay Packers tight end Richard Rodgers (82) catches a 61-yard Hail Mary throw with no time remaining to beat the Lions 27-23 in an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 3, 2015, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Redskins added a starting-caliber tight end by signing Richard Rodgers, the team officially announced March 30.

Rodgers, a third-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, has made 121 catches for 1,173 yards and 13 touchdowns over the past six seasons. Rodgers spent the first four years of his career with the Green Bay Packers before spending the past two in Philadelphia.

Here are five things to know about the Redskins' newest tight end:

1. Rodgers' father is a Redskins' assistant coach.

Rarely are father and son in the NFL at the same time, let alone working for the same team. But that's now the case for Rodgers in Washington.

Rodgers' father is assistant defensive backs coach Richard Rodgers, who was announced as part of the team's coaching staff in mid-January and brings more than 30 years of collegiate and professional experience to the Redskins. He had been with head coach Ron Rivera in Carolina from 2012-19.

Rodgers calls his father a "huge mentor" who has been especially helpful since he's almost always coached defensive backs, which are designed to cover tight ends.

However, this will be the first time Rodgers is playing for his father's team.

"This will be very interesting. I'm looking forward to it. It'll be fun," Rodgers told Voice of the Redskins Larry Michael. "I think there will be some trash talk between us both. We're pretty competitive."

2. He was one of Aaron Rodgers' favorite targets with the Green Bay Packers in 2015.

The Packers drafted Rodgers 98th overall in 2014, and it did not take long for Rodgers to return the favor.

After a rookie campaign during which he caught 20 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns, Rodgers more than doubled his production in all three categories.

Appearing in all 16 games (12 starts), Rodgers finished tied for the team lead in touchdowns (eight), second in receptions (58) and third in yards (510). The Packers were second in the NFC North that season with a 10-6 record, then defeated the Redskins in the wild-card game before falling to the Arizona Cardinals in the divisional round.

In four seasons with Green Bay, Rodgers appeared in all but one game (24 starts) and totaled 120 receptions, 1,166 yards and 13 touchdowns.

3. He made the play later dubbed "The Miracle in Motown."

During Thursday Night Football on Dec. 3, 2015, the Green Bay Packers thought they had lost a divisional game against the Detroit Lions. With the Packers trailing, 23-21, and the clock at triple zeros, Devin Taylor tackled quarterback Aaron Rodgers at the Packers' 24-yard line. But in bringing Rodgers to the ground, Taylor grabbed onto Rodgers' face mask, drawing a 15-yard penalty and an untimed down. The Packers had one more chance.

Upon taking the shotgun snap, Rodgers dropped back, took a few steps to his right, rolled back out left while avoiding the game-ending sack and uncorked a Hail Mary from his own 37.

As Lions and Packers players positioned themselves in the end zone, Richard Rodgers stood at the 5-yard line and then began tracking the football as if he was getting ready to rob a home run that was headed over the outfield wall.

His timing was perfect; after taking a few shuffles backwards, Rodgers leaped in front of everyone else, snagged the pass at its highest point and secured the game-winning touchdown as he went down to the turf. A dogpile ensued in the end zone, the appropriate celebration for a play later dubbed "The Miracle in Motown."

4. Injuries kept Rodgers off the field for much of the past two seasons.

The Eagles signed Rodgers in 2018 to back up Pro Bowler Zach Ertz, but their subsequent drafting of Dallas Goedert in the second round, combined with Rodgers' injury issues, left little room for Rodgers to contribute.

Rodgers went on Injured Reserve with a knee injury before the regular season opener, and while the Eagles activated him in mid-November, he made one catch for seven yards in seven games.

The Eagles were forced to put Rodgers on Injured Reserve again before the 2019 campaign, this time because of a foot injury. He was released with an injury settlement a few days later and was not re-signed until Christmas Eve. He played in the regular season finale and the Eagles' playoff game but did not record a catch.

5. Rodgers could be in store for a bounce-back season in 2020.

Following Vernon Davis' retirement and the Redskins' release of Jordan Reed, the only tight ends on the roster were Jeremy Sprinkle, Hale Hentges and Caleb Wilson. In 2019, the trio combined for 34 catches, 344 yards and two touchdowns. To compare, Rodgers averaged 40 receptions for 291.5 yards and 3.25 touchdowns in four seasons with the Packers.

The Redskins have since signed Marcus Baugh and Logan Thomas, but Rodgers is still the most-proven pass-catcher on the roster. And even if the team opts to spend a 2020 draft pick on a tight end, Rodgers will receive a fair chance to carve out an offensive role for himself.

"It's going to be a good opportunity for me," Rodgers said. "The past couple of years, I haven't gotten many opportunities, so I think this will be a good opportunity to get healthy and try and show what I can do on the field again."

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