GREEN BAY – On Sept. 30, four days after Davante Adams injured his toe against Philadelphia, a horde of media circled Allen Lazard’s locker to gauge the first-year receiver’s readiness in case the two-time Pro Bowler was unable to play in Dallas.
Lazard, with all of 15 NFL offensive snaps to his name, was firm in his reply.
“Absolutely ready,” said Lazard at the time. “I’ve been working my whole life for this moment. And now that I’m here in this building and playing for the greatest organization in the NFL, every day I just try to seize the moment and do the best I can.”
Lazard still had to wait for his opportunity. He played only one snap against the Cowboys and remained stationed on the sidelines for a majority of Monday’s game against Detroit.
With the offense in need of a spark, quarterback Aaron Rodgers finally suggested to receivers coach Alvis Whitted to insert the 6-foot-5, 227-pound Lazard into the game.
And true to his word – Lazard was more than ready for his shot in registering four catches for 65 yards and a touchdown on only 17 offensive snaps. He also converted two first downs on the Packers’ game-winning drive that culminated with a 23-yard Mason Crosby field goal.
Once in the game, Lazard took over. Equipped with a humble but confident persona, the 23-year-old receiver was even telling Rodgers different routes he wanted to run in the huddle.
The highlight came when Rodgers threw a tight spiral through the narrowest of windows down the sideline and connected with Lazard on a 35-yard touchdown.
“I told him to throw it to me every play but he didn’t listen,” said Lazard in a joking manner. “It felt great for him to call my number and throw an amazing ball and put it right there in the breadbasket.”
Rodgers has been a big fan of Lazard since he signed with Green Bay from Jacksonville’s practice squad late last season. While Lazard was one of the Packers’ preseason MVPs (six catches for 114 yards and a TD), he still was among the team’s final cuts.
As disappointing as it was for Lazard to start Week 1 on the practice squad, Green Bay promoted him to the active roster in time for its regular-season opener against the Chicago Bears.
Rodgers, who sits next to Lazard in meetings, came away relieved to still have the receiving prospect on the roster and impressed by how Lazard didn’t let it affect his performance.
“I was definitely worried he was going to get picked up, because the production was there in preseason,” Rodgers said. “And the body type, there’s just not that many guys like that who can run. Now, again, I go back to his mindset was the right one.”
Lazard wasn’t sure how much he’d play against the Lions but still started himself in fantasy football, a bold move considering he didn’t have a catch in five previous games and mostly had been playing on special teams (he was the unit’s rotating captain against the Lions).
It’s uncertain what the week holds for Adams and veteran Geronimo Allison, who left the game with a chest injury and to be evaluated for a concussion, and didn’t return Monday night.
Whatever happens, Lazard will be ready. As for his big night against the Lions, it’s something he’ll look back on fondly someday – preferably after Super Bowl LIV in February.
“It’s obviously an awesome moment, something that I’ll be able to tell my kids about, my grandkids about one day,” Lazard said. “I’m going to celebrate, but we’ve got bigger goals. I want to be in Miami in February, so that’s my main concern.”
Take another look at the Green Bay Packers' Week 6 victory over the Detroit Lions at Lambeau Field.