By Jeff Shearer
AUBURN, Ala. - With 80 Auburn football players giving undivided attention, Carlos Rogers spoke from the heart.
"These are the games where your names are made, pictures around the stadium, things like that," Rogers said. "These are the big games that people look at. These are the big games that you have to show up and play in."
Auburn's honorary captain for the Georgia game, Rogers received a loud ovation during an on-field introduction in the first quarter.
"I was telling them how important this game was," Rogers said. "This was the game that was the most important to me, because I was from Georgia. Lay it out for these guys, what they've got to play for the rest of the year. They understand the importance. The only thing about it is just going out there and doing it."
With Rogers watching from the sideline, Auburn knocked off the top-ranked team in the College Football Playoff rankings, 40-17.
"It's a privilege. It was fun," Rogers said. "It's good talking to the guys, to get back around here. Just give them a speech about this game, motivation."
Auburn coach Gus Malzahn created the honorary captain concept to connect the Tigers to those who came before.
"We're the Auburn family," Malzahn said. "That's why we have an honorary captain each week."
Rogers, the 2004 Jim Thorpe Award winner as the nation's best defensive back, started 44 games for Auburn from 2001-04, earning All-SEC and All-America honors.
"Carlos Rogers is one of the better players to ever put on an Auburn helmet," Malzahn said. "His picture is in our indoor facility. Our players were extremely excited when I told them he was going to be our honorary captain. He did a super job of talking to them, before the game and after the game."
Rogers will represent Auburn in the 2017 SEC Football Legends class on Dec. 2 during the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta.
After playing a decade in the NFL, Rogers is enjoying retirement in Atlanta, where his golf partners include former Auburn teammates Jason Campbell and Ronnie Brown. In 2004, they earned a treasured place in Auburn lore, winning the SEC Championship and going undefeated.
"We were real close and we still are close," Rogers said. "A lot of those same guys I hung out with, we're still close, do things together now, always seeing each other. That's what made our group so different from a lot of teams."
One of Auburn's Hard-Fighting Soldiers, Carlos Rogers walked out of Jordan-Hare Stadium a winner once more on Saturday night, his motivational speech now part of a memorable chapter in the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry.
-- Jeff Shearer (@jeff_shearer) November 11, 2017
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer