You grow up dreaming of playing in the National Football League but once you get there, is the reality as good as the dream?
"Definitely," says Randall Cobb, "a lot of fun. The guys in that locker room are some of the most athletic and talented guys--it's just a blessing to be out there with them doing something I love."
Cobb missed the Green Bay Packers' final regular season game with a pulled groin muscle but during an appearance on "The Leach Report" radio show last Friday, Cobb assured the Big Blue Nation that he'll be on the field when the Packers begin their postseason run this weekend.
Cobb is arguably the most popular Kentucky football player ever and it didn't take him long to be embraced by the Packer faithful, especially after he returned a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in the season opener--a play that made it onto ESPN's list of the top 10 NFL plays of the year.
Cobb was asked how the passion of Packer fans compares to what he saw in Kentucky.
"We have a lot of fans everywhere. It kind of puts you in the mind of Kentucky basketball, how many fans they have everywhere they go. Our fans are very loyal. Whenever we're on the road, it feels like a home game," Cobb said.
Cobb made his mark as a rookie with his ability to return kickoffs and punts, a weapon the Packers have lacked since former Super Bowl MVP Desmond Howard left more than a decade ago. But Cobb also caught 25 passes for 375 yards and a touchdown (which also came in that opening game). And even though he played in the country's toughest league, there has still been an adjustment period.
"You hear a lot of people talk about the speed but also, it's the detail work, just how precise you have to be. Especially as a receiver in your route-running and understanding coverages," Cobb told the audience. "Everybody out here is a pro. In college, you might two or three guys on the field that have the potential to play in the NFL. Just having to go non-stop on every play. You have to push yourself."
Cobb says the Packers are "staying focused and making sure we take it a week a time" when it comes to the playoffs and defending the Super Bowl championship. He says the hype surrounding the chance for an undefeated regular season was not a distraction because the players were able to keep their attention focused only on the next opponent.
Because the Packers played on Thanksgiving day, Cobb was at home in Alcoa, Tenn. with his family watching on TV when Kentucky finally ended the 26-game losing streak to Tennessee.
"That was big for us. It was exciting to see them get that win. And hats off to Matt (Roark). There's been some great quarterbacks that haven't been able to do what he did. That says a lot for him as a player," Cobb said, noting that he talked with Roark shortly after that memorable performance. "I congratulated him and told him I was proud of him. He was one of my roommates in college. Me and Matt have been close since we came in together so I was happy for him."
And what does Cobb miss most about his time at Kentucky.
"Just my friends and being able to hang out," replied Cobb. "It's a business now. I miss all my friends back in Lexington."