The challenge for players who have screwed up their own chances is realizing when they’re on their last one.
And while actions will show whether Bills wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers has truly learned, the undrafted rookie’s words indicate he understands where he stands.
“I cherish it like gold. This is it. This is my last opportunity,” Rogers said, via the Associated Press. “I’ve got to make the best of it.”
Rogers insisted he was “growing as a person,” which he needed to. He was thrown at Tennessee for multiple failed drug tests, but while cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was able to put a similar rap sheet behind him to get drafted, Rogers did not.
Granted, Mathieu was a higher-profile player to begin with, but Rogers was not untalented. He led the Volunteers with 67 catches for 1,040 yards and nine touchdowns two years ago as a sophomore.
“I feel like I was one of the top receivers in the draft, but with the off-the-field issues that I had, the things that I was doing, it hit me and it hurt me,” he said. “It just makes the chip on my shoulder that much bigger. There’s a lot of doubters and a lot of haters out there. I’m here not to prove them wrong, but to show who I am and what I’m really about.”
The Bills are giving him no false illusions about his job security, as they drafted two receivers in the second and third rounds, and have told him up front there’s no room for more mistakes.
“It’s a one-shot deal,” head coach Doug Marrone said during a conference call with Bills season-ticket holders. “Either you’ve learned your lesson and you’ve grown up and you’re going to go forward and mature, or you haven’t learned your lesson and you’re going to be out on the street. It’s that simple.”
Rogers has the kind of talent to make it worth the risk, and the Bills have provided the opportunity. But just one.