Where are they now? James Rodgers

Josh Worden Senior Beat Reporter

— James Rodgers: Football receiver, 2007-2011

At OSU: Rodgers more than made up for his undersized frame as a wide receiver while at OSU, finishing his career with a school-record 222 career catches and 91 receptions in 2009. The 5-foot-7, 188-pounder finished fourth in OSU history with 2,582 career receiving yards and earned First Team All-Pac-10 honors in 2009 while recording 2,328 all-purpose yards, the most in OSU history. Rodgers also scored game-winning touchdowns in consecutive games as a freshman in 2007, both in the Civil War and then the Emerald Bowl.

After OSU: Rodgers’ post-collegiate career was hampered by health issues, stemming from a knee injury he sustained at OSU in a 2010 game against Arizona. After his senior year in 2011, Rodgers joined his brother and former OSU star running back Jacquizz Rodgers on the Atlanta Falcons, but two years on the practice squad was all James could muster out of his NFL career.

“I don’t think it would have been a problem if I was healthy. I would probably would still be playing right now in the NFL,” Rodgers said.

Rodgers enjoyed sharing the experience of playing in the NFL with his brother, but moved on to the Canadian Football League in 2014. He totaled 148 yards and two touchdowns with the Montreal Alouettes his first year and spent 2015 on the practice squad. Especially in 2014, Rodgers’ ability to play in more than just practice for the first time in three years was refreshing.

“With the injury that I had, I knew it was going to be a little hard the first two years in Atlanta. I went to Canada, and the first year I was there I loved it,” he said. “I was able to actually play, which is something I didn’t have a chance to do for a while. I actually felt good.”

He didn’t get playing time in 2015, but has made huge strides health-wise recently. It has been a process trusting his leg ever since the injury in 2010, but this year has been markedly different.

“This is probably the first year that I’ve actually felt great, as far as playing football-wise,” Rodgers said. “If somebody was to overthrow me a ball, I had the ability this year to kick into extra gear and get the ball. And when that happened, I kinda surprised myself. I was like, ‘dang, okay, you can do that?’”

Rodgers isn’t sure where his football career will take him, possibly heading back to the CFL or trying out the freshly minted Major League Football but overall just hoping to “ride the whole football thing out” as long as he can. Once football is over, he’d like to try his hand at coaching.

He currently lives in his hometown of Richmond, Tex., while spending time occasionally in Oregon and keeping it “low key” in the offseason, mostly spending his time working out, playing the occasional pickup basketball game and relaxing at home.

In the meantime, he’ll take pride in his brother’s success; after spending four years with the Falcons, Jacquizz played for the Chicago Bears this season.

“I love it. That’s my little brother, the one I grew up with,” James said. “Just to be able to watch him play on the NFL level, competing at a high level, I love it.”