Davante Adams OK with being a 'hermit,' but still feels need to disprove doubters

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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams warms up before a NFL preseason game at Lambeau Field in 2018.

GREEN BAY - Davante Adams is entering his seventh season with the Green Bay Packers, and it has begun unlike any other. He isolated at home with his wife and new daughter for the bulk of the spring and summer, estimating he left his California home maybe 10 times outside of grocery runs. Packers strength and conditioning coordinator Chris Gizzi tailored a home workout to Adams’ in-house weight room, and the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver was also able to work on his short game and jump shot.

“Not to flex on anybody, but there's not much I needed to leave the house for,” Adams said Tuesday via Zoom from Lambeau Field. “I got my Xbox there, so I can kind of just get it in and do me at my house. Workout, all that stuff ..."

And as for staying safe now that he's back in Wisconsin, Adams said he has zero issue with holing up in Green Bay.

"To be real with you, I have no problem with being a hermit, man," he said. "Aside from the COVID and all that, that takes it to a new level obviously, it makes you think three times instead of twice about whether you should go do whatever. But at the end of the day, I don't do much. I'm a simple man. I work out. I live and breathe wideout play and I love my family. I got my daughter there and with COVID and everything ... But being in Green Bay, it's an absolutely beautiful city, but there's not a whole lot out there that's gonna drive me outside to put my family at risk at this point. So hermit it is."

Adams admitted that what he couldn’t quite get in was work on grass, with a limited area in which to run and a shortened window to do some socially distant route running, but he feels ready for the start of football activities in Green Bay.

“Things started to ramp up and get a little bit more normal toward the end of the season just as things kind of relaxed but still remained smart in how we moved,” Adams said. “A little bit more treadmill running, some interval work and things that I didn’t necessarily do before just because running on the grass is a little bit more football for me and I enjoy that more.”

Adams will begin regular-season play as the No. 23 active wide receiver in career receptions with 431, ranking 25th in yards (5,194) and tied for 14th in touchdowns (44). He made his third straight Pro Bowl last season despite missing four games. He has built a resume that has him statistically ranked as one of the top receivers in the league under 30 years old, but Adams feels there is still a measure of doubt on his name when the player-led, NFL Network “Top 100” player list was unveiled with Adams ranking in the bottom half. 

“Obviously I mentioned (on social media) that I don’t believe the players had anything to do with the list this year, and I still kind of believe that, just because based on my body of work and the respect that I know that I have from the players across the league – there’s even been a bunch of people that reached out to me and said that they didn’t even vote – so they don’t even know what algorithm is being used to come up with that thing,” he said. “I don’t let that stuff bother me.”

He then said he rooted for players such as San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle and teammate Aaron Jones for their rankings, and later noted how Aaron Rodgers won Most Valuable Player awards after falling out of the top-10 voting.

“It’s just a fun thing to watch at the end of the day, but as it pertains to me being (No.) 57, I clearly don’t agree with that,” Adams said. “I think I put in a lot of work. I think a lot of people agree, obviously there’s going be people who don’t, but there’s a lot of people who agree that there’s not 56 players better than me in the league. That’s going to continue to be shown through my work this upcoming season.”

Familiar faces

The Packers' receivers room had a chance to look vastly different, but it didn’t turn out that way during the offseason.

General manager Brian Gutekunst signed free agent Devin Funchess, but the veteran opted out of this season due to concerns about COVID-19 and never made it to a live meeting with his new teammates.

As good as the NFL draft was for receivers, it seemed a lock Adams would have more company this summer. But Gutekunst didn’t draft a single wideout.

So, the group is mostly the same save for a few additions such as former Canadian Football League star Reggie Begelton and some undrafted rookies.

“We were all expecting – it’s no secret – we were all expecting to have a receiver drafted, but that wasn’t the case,” Adams said.

In expressing his belief the Packers will be better at receiver, Adams cited just about every returning receiver when identifying players he expected to make a jump this year. But as he experienced himself, another year of experience can be invaluable.

“It’s a much different room than previous years, where I don’t have to talk about Randall Cobb or talk about Jordy Nelson,” Adams said. “It’s a lot of young guys in that room now.”

Full house

Even though Gutekunst said earlier in the week that he planned on keeping a 90-man roster, the Packers were able to have everyone in the facility at the same time and conduct their first live team meeting.

Teams that are above the 80-man roster limit must split their squads in two so no more than 45 players are in the facility at the same time. Teams with 80 or fewer players can have the entire team together.

The Packers are at 84 players, but they have five – kicker Mason Crosby, tight end Jace Sternberger, long snapper Hunter Bradley, defensive tackle Treyvon Hester and linebacker Greg Roberts – who are on the COVID-19 reserve list and thus aren’t allowed in the facility.

“We were able to have everybody in today,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said. ”But we know we’ve got to be fluid with this. We’ve got a couple guys on the COVID list, and we’ve got two schedules just in case things change and somebody can come back into the fold.”

There are already players in the league who have been activated from the COVID list, meaning they were at the tail end of the sickness or they were being quarantined because they had close contact with someone with the virus.

So, it’s possible the Packers could see some returns this week.

Gutekunst said he preferred to keep 90 during the period in which the team is focusing mostly on conditioning, but he also said he could change his mind quickly. Until two players on the COVID list come back, he won’t have to make that decision.

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