SPRUCE GROVE — He’s only been here for a couple days now, but Kacy Rodgers feels right at home with the Edmonton Eskimos.
The newest addition to training camp is actually Kacy Rodgers, the Second, considering he shares the same name as his father, who just so happens to be the New York Jets defensive co-ordinator.
So, it isn’t that much of a stretch to growing up with a defensive co-ordinator type of father to coming to the CFL and playing for a head coach who’s also one.
“We come from a football family so I remember being very young and my dad playing,” said the junior Rodgers, whose dad served a stint with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1992 — the year he was born — before playing in the CFL for one season with the Shreveport Pirates in ‘94. “I’ve been a coach’s kid my entire life, so it’s second nature at this point.”
His football-oriented upbringing has proved every bit as advantageous as having a father with connections in the biz, but Eskimos head coach Chris Jones said the six-foot-two, 208-pound product of the Miami Hurricanes program has earned his own right to be here.
“Kacy is a guy we’ve been tracking for quite some time,” said Jones, who also co-ordinates Edmonton’s defence. “(Eskimos offensive co-ordinator) Steve McAdoo is good friends with his dad and his dad knows myself and (Eskimos director of player personnel) Paul Jones.
“He’s a D co-ordinator in the League for one of the NFL teams, so Kacy’s a kid we’ve known for quite some time. He’s very athletic and really a guy who’s searching for a position. Athletically, he’s as gifted as anybody out here.”
Rodgers will need every advantage he can get after turning up to a training camp that was already four days in.
“It’s been a few months since I’ve played football,” said Rodgers, who graduated in 2013 and spent the past year working out for different teams. “I’m learning from these vets and it’s just great to be out here showcasing my skills.
“I’m just fighting for a starting position or a position on this team at all. They’ve got a lot of good players, I’m coming in here trying to do what I can and show the team what I have to offer.”
The senior Rodgers spent the past seven years coaching the defensive line of the Miami Dolphins before earning the first co-ordinator position in his 22-year coaching career.
“When I got up here, he was asking different kinds of questions because it’s kind of new for him too, being in his position,” Rodgers said. “How do we do things, and blah-blah-blah? But his main focus was to tell me good luck, go out there and make the team.
“He’s proud of me, so that means a lot.”
Of course, the life of a coach’s kid isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to the level of expectations placed on him.
“It kind of is (high), I’m just so used to it now,” Rodgers said. “Being a coach’s kid, they probably expect you to have not as many mental errors and just be a good pro.
“I’ve learned that from my dad, so I’ve got a good handle on it so far.”