Maryland football coach Randy Edsall preaches the same thing to his wide receivers on a regular basis.
"We try to tell the guys that if you're the third, fourth, fifth wide receiver in the NFL, you better be able to play special teams," Edsall said.
Kevin Dorsey apparently listened.
The former Maryland wideout played on special teams each of his four years with the Terps, and now he's on the active roster with the Green Bay Packers largely because of his work in that aspect of the game.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Dorsey was a seventh-round pick of the Packers in 2013. After missing last season with a broken toe, Dorsey impressed Green Bay coaches and players this summer, spent the beginning part of the season on the Packers' practice squad and did well enough that he was promoted to the active roster Oct. 6.
"I can say it's definitely a great feeling," Dorsey said during a telephone interview. "It's definitely something that's a slow process. As they say, Rome wasn't built in a day. You've just got to put in work, brick-by-brick to get yourself where you want to be."
Dorsey had a 4-yard reception during the Packers' win over the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 19, and he has seen time on all four of Green Bay's special teams units the past three games.
He has two tackles on the Packers' kick coverage teams and has been depended on for blocking on Green Bay's kick and punt return teams.
"Kevin Dorsey was probably one of our best special teams players during the preseason based on the way I saw it," Packers coach Mike McCarthy told reporters in Green Bay. "He improved throughout the preseason as a receiver [five catches for 52 yards], made some big-time catches. … Tough guy. Tough minded individual. He's definitely somebody who's earned this opportunity."
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers also has a high opinion of Dorsey.
"Kevin is a guy who works really hard," Rodgers told reporters in Green Bay. "He does a great job on special teams. I think that's the direct route to the active roster for young players. He does such a good job of selling out on those teams and making a lot of plays. …
"He was not healthy last year, but they kept him around because they saw some potential. He had a good training camp. That was a deep group. Now, he's got an opportunity and he's got to make the most of it."
Dorsey had just 18 catches for 311 yards and four touchdowns as a senior at Maryland in 2012 after catching 45 passes for 573 yards and three touchdowns as a junior. It didn't help that the Terps went through five quarterbacks during that 2012 season and eventually had to put a linebacker under center for the final four games.
But Dorsey improved his draft stock with a strong performance at the Raycom All-Star game after his agent, former Maryland player Chad Wiestling, convinced the game's organizers to add Dorsey to the roster.
Dorsey followed that by testing out well at the Terps' pro day. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds, completed 17 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press and turned in a 38-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-10 broad jump.
"It didn't always come easy for him," said Wiestling, whose client list includes other Maryland alums such as Nolan Carroll and Nick Novak. "It wasn't a picture perfect story for a wide receiver at Maryland. But it says a lot about Kevin. He's a phenomenal athlete. He's a big target that can do it all, and his work ethic is second to none."
Wiestling said seven or eight teams reached out regarding practice squad opportunities after Green Bay cut Dorsey following the preseason.
Dorsey, however, decided to stay there and join the Packers' practice squad.
When McCarthy informed Dorsey he was being promoted, he congratulated the wide receiver, told him his hard work had paid off and said the Packers are expecting big things from him.
"I definitely want to go out there and prove to them why [they added me to the roster] and that it was the right decision to make," Dorsey said. "My own expectation level has been raised, and I just have to make sure I push a little harder and study a little harder just to make sure everything is as perfect as can be."