The moment Davante Adams realized he was a Raider, his mind went back to the eight-year-old kid from East Palo Alto, California.
A third grader that wore a Charles Woodson jersey for picture day, proclaiming that he wanted to be a NFL star one day in his elementary school yearbook. Now that kid that owned Raiders jerseys of Woodson, Tim Brown and Rich Gannon will be able to add another one to his collection – and this one will have his own last name on the back with the No. 17.
"I was a Raiders fan my whole life," Adams said Tuesday, decked out in black head to toe in his introductory press conference. "It is a dream to be a Raider, man. It's a dream come true."
It came full circle for him after being traded from the Green Bay Packers, the team where he first got the chance to begin his dream of being an NFL star. Adams, drafted in the second round by the Packers in 2014, has the second most catches and touchdown grabs in the franchise's 101-year history. He also holds the team's single-season record for catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions.
For a man that has accomplished so much with the team that drafted him, his desire to become a Raider was rooted deep. Deep in his pride for the Bay and his family.
Now being closer to his hometown, many of his family members that have never seen him play live will be able to have that experience under the bright lights of Allegiant Stadium.
"Just reflecting and thinking about life things and stuff that really matters in this world, that's stuff that matters to me. That's stuff that's weighing on my mind when there's a decision to be made," said Adams, who's looking forward to his grandparents seeing him play in person for the first time.
"Obviously, being in Vegas, it gives them a much better opportunity. My dad drives everywhere, so he'll be able to make that happen. It's a little bit harder to drive to Green Bay. It's a dream come true to be able to do this thing and ultimately be able to get it done."
Adams is already well acquainted with his new (old) quarterback Derek Carr. The success the two had together at Fresno State has been well-documented, and both were selected in the same draft.
Adams said that he and his good friend trained together every offseason together in the Bay Area before the COVID-19 pandemic. He even joked how Carr was already asking him to get together to run routes – before he even landed in Las Vegas. Raider Nation now anxiously waits to see the Carr/Adams connection that had 38 touchdowns and over 3,000 yards as Fresno State Bulldogs.
When Adams does step on the field with Carr, they'll have some legitimate weapons around them too. Adams will join Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow in the passing game – two wide receivers who have had 100 catch, 1,000-yard seasons as Raiders. According to Adams, there'll be enough to go around for everyone to feast.
"I was looking at some film and looking at some highlights and just seeing some of the guys that I'm going to be surrounded with now," said Adams. "Hunter, people were telling me how much I can teach him, I'm like, 'He might be able to teach me a few things.' He's a young player, but he's definitely seasoned. Everything I've heard from all these guys around here has been amazing, from Derek too. Nothing but good things ahead."
Another connection that Adams will have in Las Vegas is with the Raiders wide receivers coach, Edgar Bennett. Bennett was Adams' offensive coordinator with the Packers for two seasons, and was the receivers coach when he was first drafted.
The wideout has previously spoken about how much Bennett has guided him in his development as a star receiver, and said Tuesday that he was happy Bennett was one of the first faces he saw when he first entered Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center.
"First thing I let him know, I said, 'Man, you got to ease up on the tests.' That's the first thing I said to him and he started dying laughing," Adams joked. "He has a lot to do with who I am today, just from the mentor aspect of approaching the game. This man used to put together some of the most impossible wide receiver tests to pass ever. It was almost like I was being set up, it wasn't fun.
"But I look back at it now – the way I look at the game, the way I dissect the game, knowing coverages and things like that – EB had a lot to do with that. It's a great feeling to get him back too. ... He's a big piece of who I am."
Now being back with Carr, Bennett and his family a few hours away, the next step of Adams' career has begun.
And as a player in his prime going up against a stacked AFC West, he understands the assignment: to win games.
"This is the best division in football right now. It'd be hard not to say that, even if I was still in Green Bay right now, honestly. It's loaded. It's not going to be easy, but it's definitely something I'm looking forward to. I'm always looking for a challenge.
"I'm excited. I'm ready to get to work and we're going to do this thing."
Take a look at exclusive photos from wide receiver Davante Adams' first day at Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center as a member of the Silver and Black.