Jared Cook was already in his eighth season in the NFL when he made one of the most ridiculous catches in recent memory.
When the Green Bay Packers played the Dallas Cowboys in the Divisional Round of the 2016 playoffs, Cook connected with Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers on a 35-yard pass that set up a game-winning field goal.
But just a couple months later, Cook was gone, and off to the Raiders where he spent two seasons. That was followed by a two-year stint with the Saints and now, he's found a home with the Chargers after agreeing to terms with the Bolts for his 13th season in the league.
"Jared was a phenomenal teammate," Corey Linsley reflected. "The biggest thing I remember about Jared is everyone was furious when (the Packers) didn't re-sign him, because that's how much he meant to the team. Great teammate, great dude. A professional on and off the field – he's everything you want in a teammate."
Cook and Linsley are reunited once again out west with the Chargers. (Also joined by former Packer and current Charger, Bryan Bulaga.) Although Cook was only in Green Bay for one season, his presence can't be overstated – as Linsley attested.
"He's fast (and) he can run well but as a teammate, he's a professional, he handles his business," Linsley elaborated. "He's been in the league a long time now; he knows the ins and outs. He knows how to handle himself and that'll mean a lot to the young guys, too. To see a guy who's done it at a high level for a long time and see how it's done."
Cook said that veteran presence is something he's bringing with him to the Chargers locker room.
"I'm a big guy who believes in leading by example, especially when people are paying attention and they're watching you," Cook mentioned. "I'm definitely going to do my best to do that and bring guys with me."
As for that ridiculous playoff catch, Cook said "it was a play that was drawn up in the dirt," but it was also predicated on trust; trust between the QB and himself.
How do you build that? And how can he build that now out here with Justin Herbert?
"Talking," he stated. "You can never talk enough. But it's not talking from one person, it takes a dialogue, talking back and forth and understanding each other. The better you understand each other and talk things out, the easier it is on Sunday. It's important throughout the week that you guys talk, get to know each other, get to know what each other is thinking on certain plays and envision how you see those plays playing out together. I think that's what helps you grow and become better."
But with communicating also comes studying and gaining knowledge. Despite his years in this league, Cook said he "can never stop learning" both in the game and in life. Now that he's with his new team, he's looking forward to learning from some of his newest teammates as he embarks on life as a Charger.
"It's always imperative to make yourself better, make your brain stronger, and continue to learn what you can from other people," he mentioned. "Cause I don't know it all! I don't have all the answers, so whatever answers those guys can give me, that's a huge help ... Just like in football, onto the next play, it's the same in life. You can't sit there and dwell on the last thing, you have to get better, learn and grow. With every 'L' there's a lesson, so take that lesson and run."
Browse through photos of new Chargers tight-end, Jared Cook, a two-time pro bowler who spent the past two seasons with the Saints.
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