Packer Report: You’re from Alcoa, Tenn., a small, football-crazy town. Are there some similarities to Green Bay?
Randall Cobb: We’re a twin city, so with the twin city it’s probably 20,000 people, but it’s a very small, close-knit community. It’s a lot like Green Bay. Coming to a place like that, it makes me feel at home. Everyone’s so family-orientated (in Green Bay) and the tightness from the community to the organization is so close.
PR: But Alcoa was a place where you could get into trouble, too, wasn’t it? You had to keep yourself on the straight and narrow.
RC: I was very fortunate to have some great people in my life. My parents and my grandparents raised me. And one thing I always talk about is that it takes a village to raise a child and I think that coming from where I came from, everyone raised me and there was trouble in the areas I grew up in and I had to find my way out of it.
I did have some troubles in my past and I was able to move from those and grow from the things that I was doing because of the people in my life.
PR: Tell me about some of those.
RC: Just with some of the kids I grew up with … a lot of them are in jail. I have a buddy who’s dead and another who’s in jail for 45 years for murder. I’ve seen those things. I’ve been around those things. I know where I’ve come from. That’s why I’m so blessed and fortunate to be where I’m at today.
PR: And like Green Bay, Alcoa’s got a pretty nice championship tradition, don’t they?
RC: Seven of the last eight (championships), and four while I was there.
PR: You were “Mr. Tennessee” after your senior year, but you didn’t end up at Tennessee. How did that work?
RC: Well, when it comes down to recruiting, there’s a wide variety of styles that coaches use and I just wasn’t too fond of the ones at Tennessee. I felt like the position at Kentucky and with the coaching staff at Kentucky, they really cared for me as a person and helped me grow as a person. And, during that recruitment, I could really tell that was the place for me.
PR: It’s not an overstatement to say you were the Kentucky offense given all the positions you played. Was there pressure with that or did you relish having the opportunity to make such a big impact every game?
RC: I think I relished it. I loved every single part of it, and I didn’t really consider it pressure. But I am my biggest critic, so I like having, I guess what you’d call, pressure. But I don’t really look at it as pressure.
PR: You set the SEC single-season yardage record with 2,396 as a junior. What do you think about when you look back on that?
RC: I was actually mad because I was going for 2,500. I didn’t get it that year. That was one of my goals going into to the season. I didn’t quite get as much as I wanted but I did break the record, so that was pretty huge. But, like I said, I’m my biggest critic, so anytime I have success, I’m always pushing for more and it’s never going to be enough. You can never be satisfied. You always have to keep that drive and never relax.
PR: Former UT and NFL quarterback Tee Martin worked with you at Kentucky. He said he’s never seen anyone that wanted to be the best as badly as you. Is that an accurate statement?
RC: That’s dead on. That’s what I play for. Whenever you’re in this league, you want to do two things: You want to win championships and you want one of those (Pro Football Hall of Fame) jackets. And to get one of those jackets, you have to continue to have that drive. And, you know, I think that’s something that still drives me, especially coming off of an injury last year and missing 10 weeks. I’m really looking forward to the season and really putting forth and taking myself to that level.
PR: You were the last guy to come out of the Green Room at Radio City Music Hall back at the 2011 draft. How difficult was that day?
RC: It was fine for me. I knew everything was going to work out the way it was supposed to. I’m so glad I landed where I did. I couldn’t have ended up in a better situation with a better quarterback and a better organization than what I came to. So, to be here in Green Bay has special meaning, so regardless of what happened in that Green Room and how long I waited, I think that just really drove me. Again, like I talk about … it’s having that passion, that drive, having that motor and motivation. I think that’s something that motivated me — 64th overall, seventh receiver taken, so I still feel like I have a lot to prove.
PR: And you remember every one of those receivers taken ahead of you?
RC: Oh, yeah, I know them. I know them well.
PR: So you land in Green Bay and it just feels right?
RC: Everything’s about football here. Just like in my hometown, everything’s about football. Right in (the University of) Tennessee’s backyard, there’s a lot of passionate Tennessee fans where I came from, so I’m used to being around the same kind of fan bases and going around the city and meeting fans and seeing fans everywhere and just being able to communicate and talk to them.
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W. Keith Roerdink has covered the Packers since 1992. E-mail him at email@example.com.