On Romeo Doubs' great escape
Links inside, icymi. Meet a wide receiver unlike any other.
His world was crashing down at the NFL Combine in April 2022. With one severe bout of food poisoning, a slew of teams suddenly read Romeo Doubs all wrong.
For the first time, the Green Bay Packers wide receiver opens up on everything.
Go Long flew to Wisconsin last week for this piece on Jonathan Owens and a two-parter on the Packers’ ascending wide receiver.
Over dinner at Republic Chophouse in downtown Green Bay, Doubs relives his tumultuous upbringing in South Central Los Angeles — a fugitive father, friends murdered, how he avoided gang life to reach the NFL. And whereas the best of the best athletes in all of sports prefer to manifest and dream, Doubs takes a polar-opposite approach to life. Go Long also chatted with mentor Keyshawn Johnson, trainer Roy Holmes Jr. and longtime receivers coach Terry Robiskie, a man who pulls no punches.
You can catch a few extra thoughts from these three below, too.
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Extras on Doubs…
“Nice and easy. Humble. Just glad to be here, happy to be here. Going to work hard, going to do everything that you ask him to do. Do everything the right way. And sometimes people are — when you talk about big colleges and stuff like that — late-bloomers or sometimes people already got their minds and decisions made up on what type of players that they committed to already and they go after those guys and never give anybody else a real opportunity and chance. So guys fall by the wayside.”
“When Green Bay drafted him, I thought it was a perfect opportunity for him. Young receivers, they needed some receivers. They had a Hall of Fame quarterback that if he got on the same page with him, they would be doing magic. At times, he did get on the same page with him. But those guys, you’re young, you don’t know what to expect. You get injured. Hamstring here. Ankle there. Different things start to happen. In my opinion, he’s the best receiver that the Green Bay Packers have, and he’ll never tell you that. I’ll tell it for him.”
“Well, he’s continuing to grow. He’s got nice, ideal size. He’s athletic. He’s quick and fast and in-and-out of his cuts. He’s going to come along over time. He runs pretty good routes. Remember it’s only his second year. He’s going to continue to get better. … It’s not like they’re saying, ‘We’re going to throw you the ball 20 times.’ So if they throw him the ball 20 times, what would he really look like? And what would he really be?”
“In our conversation, I don’t think one time talked about his dad. Whenever we would practice, we would talk about his Mom, his sister, living with them. His brother means the world. And I remember when we first started going to work out, I said, ‘OK, come on over here.’ He had to go with his brother because he didn't even have a driver’s license. So I would give him shit about that. And then when he would try to tell me something about his Dad, I never saw his dad. And I never asked him about it. Because I would tell him, ‘When you get to Green Bay. The head coach in Green Bay, I know him. He made a decision to draft you. He believes you can make plays. And that’s why he drafted. He going to give you the ball. But you know what’s really not that important to him? Where you come from, what your history is, what your background is. He drafted you now. He knows all of that. He don’t need you to come sit down and tell him, Man, what my dad was doing, my dad was this and that. Nobody gives a shit. You know what he gives a shit about? Can you catch that ball and get it over that line?’ You get it over that first down line or that touchdown line. That’s all we want to know. And nobody really cares where your daddy went, what your daddy did, what your cousin do, what your uncle did. Nobody give a shit. I said, ‘That’s the head coach’s deal. I drafted you. Now you’re here with me. I want to know can you pick that ball across that line?’”
Roy Holmes Jr.
“Oftentimes we want to put certain players into the same box as the other players because it makes us feel comfortable. And I think that's the beauty of him. He’s different and he’s so humble. He’s not going to be one of your receivers that comes up in conversation, but then when you start looking at stats, you’re like, ‘Well, he’s one of the top receivers in the league.’ Well, why does anybody know about it? He's not going to tell you about it. He’s going to let his play on the field determine how he is. He’s just one of those guys that's very, very determined, very, very driven. If you’re not patient, if you're one of those people that wants to put him in a different type of box or scheme, he’s going to resist you. But you allow him to be him, crack some jokes here and there and say some stuff, he’s going to accept you like that.”
“He may never be considered one of the great ones because he’s like Tim Duncan, and it’s like he just goes out there and does his job and he does it really, really well. So I just hope that that's not something that people knock him on, and people just really accept it for what it is: ‘We’ve got one generational talent.’ A guy that can jump high, run fast, catch the ball, run routes and be consistent blocking. A good teammate. I think those are the things that I think what really, really would stand out.”
“Outside of his natural athleticism, that’s probably one of his biggest traits. You’re so talented, you could definitely be a guy that just hangs it in just like, ‘Hey, I’ve made it.’ But he’s not. He’s definitely one of those guys that’s very curious. Just because he doesn’t say something in the beginning doesn’t mean he's not thinking it. He kind of just really just gets in his little bubble and he’s asking questions. Different things like that. You’re like, man, ‘I wonder if Romeo likes this. I wonder if Romeo thinks I’m funny, or I wonder if he likes training here.’ And out of nowhere, he’ll say, ‘Hey, this is great. This is awesome. This is amazing. I appreciate it.’ And he’ll walk away. He’s a unique individual and I just hope with today's society of social media and everyone pounding their chest, that people don’t skew the beauty of what this guy really is.”