Davante Adams has been named first-team All-Pro for three consecutive seasons, but it was the most recent one -- after his first season with the Las Vegas Raiders -- that meant the most to him.
Because he achieved it without Aaron Rodgers as his quarterback.
"It proved that I am me," Adams, who was traded to the Raiders during the 2022 offseason after eight seasons with Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, told The Ringer in an interview published Tuesday. "A quarterback doesn't make me. ... I make me. And I can do it consistently at this level.
"That's why [last] season meant a lot. Even if I went and played like dog s--- next year, they can't say it. Because now I've already proved it throughout the course of a season, played every game, and put together a résumé that says I do not need ...
"You can erase all the numbers. You can just write in: He didn't need Aaron Rodgers."
After signing a five-year, $141.25 million deal that made him the highest-paid receiving in the league at the time, Adams caught 100 passes for 1,516 yards and a league-leading 14 receiving touchdowns in 17 games for the Raiders in 2022, earning a Pro Bowl nod with Derek Carr serving as the starting quarterback for the majority of the season.
Those numbers followed a wildly successful tenure with the Packers in which Adams caught 669 passes for 8,121 yards and 73 touchdowns. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection in Green Bay, and he leads all active receivers with 87 career touchdowns.
But Adams felt that his accomplishments in Green Bay always were overshadowed by the star of Rodgers, who was traded to the New York Jets this offseason after 18 seasons with the Packers.
"Now people can't say that," Adams told The Ringer. "That'll never be the narrative ever again. ... If I wouldn't have gotten first-team All-Pro, this is the first year where I would've actually cared.
"When I got it, I was like, 'All right, I'll never care about another one.'"
Adams will get a chance to see both -- the Packers and Rodgers -- this coming season, with the Raiders scheduled to play Green Bay on Oct. 9 and the Jets on Nov. 12.
"Aaron's a hell of a quarterback," Adams said.