Three weeks ago, Rasul Douglas was sitting on the Arizona Cardinals’ practice squad and wondering what lay ahead for him in the National Football League.
On Thursday night, the 6-foot-2, 209-pound cornerback was the most celebrated player inside a raucous State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.
Only Douglas wasn’t wearing the Cardinals’ all-black uniform. After signing to the Packers’ active roster on Oct. 6, the fourth-year veteran cornerback was instead lined up across from former All-Pro receiver A.J. Green with 15 seconds to go, Arizona down at the Green Bay 5 and the Packers clinging to a scant three-point lead.
On the game’s most important play, interim defensive play-caller Jerry Gray and inside linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti dialed up an all-out blitz. In reaction, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray’s pass sailed high past an unsuspecting Green and into the hands of Douglas to seal a 24-21 Packers victory.
Afterward, Douglas had only one word, repeated three times, to express his feelings after knocking off his former team and the league’s last unbeaten squad.
“Blessed. Blessed. Blessed, man,” Douglas said. “You’re in a crazy mental state being in the league five years, never been on a practice squad before. And then one day you’re just on a practice squad, you feel like you’re working for nothing, kinda, and then you get a call and you’re somewhere else, and you’re just playing. So I’m just thankful.”
A third-round pick by Philadelphia in 2017, Douglas has worn four NFL uniforms over the past two months. After being released by the Las Vegas Raiders in August, Douglas spent a week with Houston before signing to Arizona’s practice squad.
Traditionally, Douglas wouldn’t have practice-squad eligibility because of his 60 regular-season games played. But the NFL loosened the rulebook on that last year with practice squads expanding to 16 players due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Packers signed Douglas after Kevin King was diagnosed with a concussion in Week 3 and only days prior to Jaire Alexander injuring his shoulder against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In the absence of King and Alexander, Douglas has been lights out since taking over as the starting perimeter cornerback opposite rookie first-round pick Eric Stokes. He not only grabbed the game-ending interception but also led the Packers’ defense with nine tackles and two passes defensed in Arizona.
“To step up in the moment that was and for it to not be too big for him, that’s a testament to his character and his confidence in himself,” receiver Randall Cobb said. “Talking about opportunities, you’re talking about a guy that was on the street four weeks ago. For him to be here and to make a play in a critical moment like he made, that goes back to the depth of this team and our belief in ourselves and each other.”
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