Davante Adams spent his entire NFL career to this point in Green Bay, Wisconsin.
Now he's moving closer to home -- and he couldn't be more excited about what's ahead.
Adams was formally introduced as the newest member of the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday, and he knew just what to wear. Dressed in a black suit with a black shirt, the new star of the Silver and Black expressed delight when embracing his new environment, which includes a realization of a dream that can be traced back to elementary school.
"I grew up in East Palo Alto (California). I was a Raiders fan my whole life, so it is a dream to be a Raider, man," Adams said. "It's a dream come true. In the third-grade yearbook, I said I want to be an NFL star or an NBA star, and I was wearing a Charles Woodson jersey at the time. It's been documented forever, so I guess you could say it's meant to be."
Adams' new reality is one that includes moving his belongings into the Raiders' new Henderson, Nevada, headquarters, which offers a facility that is "like a spaceship." It also means a reunion between Adams and his old college quarterback, former Fresno State teammate Derek Carr, with whom Adams has long maintained close contact and started discussing a potential joining of forces this offseason.
Teaming with Carr will be akin to reuniting with a long-lost brother for Adams, whom Carr began to publicly lure last summer. With their pairing now a reality thanks to a blockbuster trade, their next task will be to rekindle a rapport that led to first- and second-round selections in the 2014 NFL Draft. This time, instead of propelling them to the next level, Adams and Carr will hope to ride their relationship to a Super Bowl coming out of a division that has quickly become incredibly competitive.
"It's the best division in football right now, and it'd be hard to not say that even if I was still in Green Bay, honestly," Adams said of the challenge presented by the AFC West. "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. The Chargers added a few more pieces. Obviously, we stacked over here, so it's exciting to see what's ahead, I'm looking forward to it."
Adams told reporters Tuesday he feels like he's leaving high school for college all over again. Teaming with Carr will certainly give him the familiar vibes of Fresno State, but instead of joining forces in Northern California, they'll do so in the desert of Las Vegas.
The California connection doesn't end there, of course. Adams mentioned the geographic importance of joining the Raiders, which extends even beyond his lifelong love for the Silver and Black.
"Ultimately, it was just for my family situation, I got another baby on the way. Quality of life obviously is another piece of it that means a lot to me," Adams explained when asked why he chose the Raiders over working things out with the Packers. "I have a lot of family in California that's never been to see me play before. Grandparents, my grandmother wasn't doing well, she was in the hospital recently. Just kind of 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 needs to be made. Do I want to be able to go through my whole career without having either of my grandparents on either side, see me play? And I didn't like that. 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 harder to drive to Green Bay. It's a dream come true to be able to do this thing and ultimately get it done."
Now that the dream has been realized, it's time to get to work.
Adams is the latest big-name playmaker to trade his old uniform for Silver and Black, but unlike the decisions made by Randy Moss (a financially driven one that flopped) and Jerry Rice (an end-stage play to pursue a title), Adams arrives to a situation built for him to succeed. He has familiarity with a quality quarterback in Carr and certainly isn't Carr's only option in the passing game. With new head coach Josh McDaniels in charge of the offense and armed with years of coordinating experience, the Raiders should be positioned to win.
Adams wants to do what his Packers couldn't in Green Bay in recent years: reach the Super Bowl and bring one home. He's well aware of the impact such an outcome would have on Raider Nation.
"There's a couple guys that stopped through here later in their career, Randy and Jerry, who, they didn't necessarily establish themselves in the league while being with the Raiders, but those are two guys who I obviously watched, those are some of the founding fathers for me," Adams said. "It was more than just receivers. It was obviously C-Wood (Charles Woodson). Tim Brown was a big inspiration. My whole family was Raider fans, so I knew a lot about the history since I was young, too. Just growing up, honestly, all Raiders, anything Raiders was what I was about. I had a Tim Brown jersey. C-Wood. Those got worn until the numbers fell off. Rich Gannon. I mean everything. I'm just looking forward to coming in, trying to leave my footprint as well as I can."
The bags of money thrown at Adams have already left an indentation in the dry, rocky terrain of Las Vegas. Should he win a Lombardi Trophy for the Raiders, it will leave a much bigger mark.