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A Rookie's Life


Jacquizz Rodgers can finally put his feet up.

Not because he's made the final 53 or because he's finding his way in a loaded offense. Like many of his rookie teammates, he's finally moved into his apartment and away from the cramped rookie quarters they experienced for the last few weeks.

After living at the training facility through training camp, long after the veterans left, Rodgers and the other rookies were finally able to go out and make themselves feel like more permanent residents of Atlanta.

"I was ready," the running back said on Thursday. "You get a little more room with your own place where you can relax."

Moving out meant furnishing a place to live and while they're not trying to live glamorous lifestyles just yet, they do need some of the basics. For a few days conerback Darrin Walls only had a TV, a couch and a bed in his apartment. His parents visited him over the weekend and took a page out of their college parenting book. They helped him find a few more things and even though most of his meals are eaten at the facility, mom insisted he have some food at home.

"They came down to help me because they knew I wasn't going to do it," he said with a laugh. "They had to come down to help me get some stuff so it starts to feel like a home."

Even though they're on their own, so to speak, now, the rookie class valued that time together. Rodgers explained that sharing the common bond of rookie meant having some teammates around that were having similar experiences. Being put together after coming from all over the country meant they had to get to know each other.

"We bonded in the locker room," Rodgers said. "We all still sit together at breakfast and dinner. We knew we had someone to relate to and somebody who we look at at the same level. We each understand what we're going through."

Walls said even though they all moved out, they found themselves staying close together. The proximity of their homes to one another is still close.

Even though they may be back to living on their own like in college, just about everything else is different. Earning a paycheck in the NFL means you've got to responsible for your business. Roles are different as well. For Walls, being a member of the active 53 still means having to fight for time. Through two games this season he's been inactive, which is unusual for him after a standout career at Notre Dame, but he's using it as a positive.

"It's a little different compared to college," he said. "In college, you're dressing. For me I played my whole college career so it's a little different watching from the sideline not in uniform. For me, I just go out every day and try to be active for the game. It's motivation to practice hard and keep doing the things they saw the things in me in camp so I can make it up a few spots."

Being on your own once again is great as Rodgers explains, but it's come with more than just learning his way around Atlanta. He realized quickly that no one other than himself would wake him up in the mornings and make sure he had the time to do what needed to be done.

"You've got to get into the routine of waking up early, having time to come here and do your extra prep, treatment if you have to get it, breakfast and also making it to meetings on time," he said. "That's the big thing is just getting into a routine and making sure you wake up."

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