"I'm glad I went the long route."
Eric Rogers wasn't talking about the deep ball he hauled in over a cornerback at a recent San Francisco 49ers Organized Team Activites session.
Instead, the team's tallest wide receiver at 6-foot-3 was referring to his unique path to the team's 90-man roster.
After going undrafted out of Cal Lutheran in 2013, Rogers auditioned for the Dallas Cowboys in training camp before spending a year each in the Arena Football League and Canadian Football League. The journey, although unorthodox, helped Rogers further develop the tools of his trade.
Rogers, 25, looks the part as an NFL receiver so far this offseason.
"I use all of my experience," Rogers told reporters this week. "That experience with the Cowboys, the experience in the Arena Football League, and the experience in the CFL – I try to bring it all together."
Rogers caught 87 balls for 1,448 yards and 10 touchdowns in his lone CFL season with the Calgary Stampeders in 2015.
Coach Chip Kelly brought Rogers in for a workout when he was with the Philadelphia Eagles. A dozen more NFL clubs also inquired about signing the Glendora, Calif., native. But it was Rogers' familiarity with Kelly that made the difference when he signed with the 49ers on Jan. 20 of this offseason.
Rogers' impressive wingspan was noticeable at the team's open OTA session on Tuesday. He caught several intermediate and deep passes, all while showcasing his ability to secure possession in crowded areas.
"When the ball's in the air, it's mine," Rogers explained. "I don't like negative plays."
As one of 12 wideouts on San Francisco's current roster, Rogers is in the mix to earn a significant role opposite of returning starter, Torrey Smith.
"I like their energy," Kelly said of his receivers prior to the start of OTAs. "I think there's a group that brings a lot of juice every single day we are out there. There's a lot of athleticism out there and will continue to gain experience as we get moving forward with them. They've been great so far."
So while starting roles will be sorted out based on performances in training camp practices and preseason games, Rogers can take some solace in knowing that he's developing into a viable option for the 49ers.
It's quite the story when you consider the route that he ran to the Bay Area.
"I always told myself, when I get the opportunity, I'm going to play football as long as I can in any league that wants me," Rogers said. "I'm here now, and I'll try to stick around for a while."