Allen Lazard says Nathaniel Hackett, Jets’ huge potential is reason he signed
After playing college football at Iowa State and pro football in Green Bay, Allen Lazard said he wanted to come to a big city that has “a melting pot of culture” and play under the bright lights of New York.
But, while a new adventure for the Midwesterner allured him to the Jets, the prospect of teaming up with a couple of familiar faces sealed the deal for Gang Green’s newest wide receiver: Aaron Rodgers, who has not yet joined the Jets, and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett.
“Knowing Hackett and our rapport and everything, and being in meetings with him, that’s some of the funnest times I’ve had with football is being with him on the field and in the meeting room,” Lazard said at his introductory news conference Friday.
When asked what it is like playing in Hackett’s offense, Lazard was quick to say with a slight chuckle, “Fun. Easy.”
“He’s the best teacher I've ever had in my life. And that goes from school to football, he just makes learning fun,” the receiver said. “Makes it really easy and he allows you to just go out there and play fast and not think. And because of that, is the reason I’ve had a lot of success these past few years.”
Lazard said his decision to join the Jets was about “doing what’s best” for his career and he might have been a Jet anyway even if there was no possible reunion with Rodgers.
“Knowing that Nathaniel Hackett was here was a big thing. Knowing that I was gonna be able to stay in the same offense, and more so the role that these guys had presented to me that I could be in the locker room,” he said. “To be a veteran guy, to be a leader in the wide receiver room. I have a lot of experience, obviously in primetime games, playoff games, and that’s something that hasn’t happened here too much.
"…To have that experience and have that knowledge and mentor the younger guys, [be] a pillar in the locker room were a lot of things that intrigued me about this spot, and knowing the potential that we could really go the distance here.”
Of course, the prospect of reuniting with Rodgers is a bonus.
“Obviously him being here, it definitely helps the entire organization be able to take the next step that they need to, to make a deep playoff run and go win that Lombardi trophy,” Lazard said.
Lazard added that Rodgers is “a big reason why I’m here today,” but was speaking about his development as an undrafted receiver who earned the MVP quarterback’s trust and earned a big contract in free agency.
“He stood up on a table for me during training camp when I probably didn’t deserve to make the roster, at least in the front office’s eyes. And he called for me to be in the game. He’s relied on me in a lot of heavy-pressure situations and he’s always believed in me,” Lazard said. “As a wide receiver, the best relationship you can have is with the quarterback. And the relationship I’ve had with him has been phenomenal.”
And while the two spoke during the offseason, there weren’t definitive plains for the two to meet in New York. "Aaron when it comes to the offseason, communication dwindles a little bit,” Lazard said, adding they don't always talk football when they see each other during the offseason.
But, with the two likely ending up in the same place, Lazard added, “Obviously standing here today, it feels good knowing that 12's gonna be my quarterback again.”
And, with Rodgers, the wide receiver sees big potential for the Jets.
“I think with Aaron Rodgers as quarterback, the possibility to win is always a thing,” Lazard said. “And with that being said, it’s really the Super Bowl."