Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams is a major reason why his team is playing in its second straight NFC title game. Adams led the NFL in touchdown catches despite missing nearly three games. According to his childhood friend and high school teammate, T.J. Braff, Adams nearly saw his football days come to an end after an injury suffered when he played Pop Warner Football.
Adams has blossomed into an NFL star
After getting drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2014, Davante Adams had to be patient. At Fresno State, he was the primary wideout, catching 38 passes in his first two college seasons. When the Packers selected him in the second round, they knew he wouldn’t be jumping right into stardom.
Although he got some playing time, the Packers already had Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb. Adams finished his rookie season with 38 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns. Adams didn’t come into his own in the NFL until the 2016 season when he was targeted 121 times. He finished the season with 75 catches for 997 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Since then, Adams has been the main wide receiver in Green Bay. In 2017, he made the first of his four straight Pro Bowls. the following year, Adams recorded his first 1,000-yard season with 1,386 receiving yards. He also added 13 touchdowns. In 2019, he had another 997-yard season while missing four games, and this year was his best as he racked up 18 touchdown catches and 1,374 yards.
Adams is a natural athlete
According to T.J. Braff, Davante Adams’ childhood friend and high school teammate, Adams was a stud athlete. The two played together at Palo Alto High School in Palo Alto, California. They were both on the football and basketball teams. In their junior seasons, they were the quarterback-wide receiver combo after Braff took over the quarterback duties when their starter was injured.
Braff said Adams was one heck of a basketball player as well. “We grew up together and were always on the same basketball team,” Braff, 28, told Sportscasting. “He was a stud and could jump out of the gym. He could do some amazing dunks.”
In football, Adams teamed with another pro athlete, MLB outfielder Joc Pederson, to form quite the wideout tandem for Braff and the Poly football team. Pederson is a year older than Adams and Braff, but Braff had the opportunity to throw the ball to bother of them in Pederson’s senior year. “Both were very good,” Braff said. “(Joc) may have finished with more yardage, but they were both so good. It was a lot of fun, for sure.”
Adams was injured in Pop Warner
T.J. Braff and Davante Adams were pretty close growing up. “He would come to my house before school,” said Braff, who went on to play Division 1 baseball at Santa Clara. “We went to Jordan Middle School. There was a fence dividing my house and the school and I’d just jump the fence and be at school. Davante would take the bus and get there early. He’d jump the fence and come to my house and we’d play ping pong or something before school.”
The two grew up playing youth football and basketball together. Braff remembers a time when Adams was hurt during Pop Warner. He wasn’t so sure Adams would ever be on the football field again.
“I remember in Pop Warner, he broke his arm,” Braff said. “He may have broken it more than once. His mom wasn’t going to let him play football again. I remember him telling me his mother wouldn’t let him play. He may have even taken a year off, but there was a chance he wasn’t going to make it.”
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.