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CB Rasul Douglas grateful for opportunity Packers gave him

Fifth-year cornerback hopes to return to Green Bay next season

CB Rasul Douglas
CB Rasul Douglas

GREEN BAY – It's difficult to believe Rasul Douglas was only a member of the Packers' roster for 108 days this past season.

The half season of 'Sul is one Green Bay fans won't soon forget, as the 6-foot-2, 208-pound cornerback recorded 57 tackles, 13 passes defensed and five interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) in just 12 games.

Originally signed off Arizona's practice squad on Oct. 6, Douglas quickly stepped into the starting cornerback spot Jaire Alexander vacated when he injured his shoulder against Pittsburgh in Week 4. Despite his late arrival, Douglas played well enough to gain recognition as a Pro Bowl alternate.

The fifth-year veteran brought a no-nonsense mentality with him to Green Bay and gained a level of playful infamy among his teammates and coaches for Douglas' tendency to study his iPad at all times of the night around the Lambeau Field facility.

"Rasul, (he's) one of the hardest workers I've ever seen," said rookie cornerback Eric Stokes. "He's one of those guys that got dog in him. It's completely different. I absolutely commend him for everything that he did for us. Beyond proud of everything that 'Sul done did this year."

This past year saw Douglas bounce from Carolina to Las Vegas to Houston before starting the regular season on the Cardinals' practice squad. Just weeks after signing with Green Bay, he returned to Arizona and intercepted quarterback Kyler Murray in Green Bay's end zone to preserve a 24-21 victory.

Exactly one month later, Douglas registered a career-high four passes defensed and returned a Matthew Stafford interception for a 33-yard touchdown to propel the Packers to a 36-28 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

In December, Douglas only got better. He returned another INT for a TD against Chicago on Dec. 12, becoming just the second player in team history to return an interception for a touchdown in back-to-back games (Herb Adderley, Sept. 19-26, 1965).

Douglas topped off his career season with two more picks against Cleveland on Christmas Day, including a game-ending INT with less than a minute left to seal Green Bay's 24-22 win.

Still, in the aftermath of the Packers' 13-10 divisional-round playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers, those successes were the furthest thing from Douglas' mind when he spoke with reporters last week during the final media availability of the year.

"Probably when I'm about to use this time to wind down for a little bit, the next few weeks to wind down, I'll probably think about it," said Douglas of his season. "Right now, anytime I stop doing anything fun or anything with family, I just think about the last time I put on pads."

After signing with Green Bay, Douglas said he wrote down a list of goals for the remainder of the season that included being available wherever the team needed him, staying in his playbook and doing extra work after every practice.

The plan appears to have worked. In just 12 games with Green Bay, Douglas recorded as many interceptions (five) as he did through his first four NFL seasons (five in 60 contests). Douglas also forced the only fumble of his career in a Packers uniform, and he nearly had another one in the playoff game but it was overturned by replay.

With the season over, Douglas is set to hit unrestricted free agency for the second time in as many seasons. However, he'll see a much different market this year than the one he met last April.

Douglas would like nothing more than to be back. When asked by a reporter how much money it'll take to make that happen, Douglas replied with a wry smile, "Probably a little bit more. But nothing crazy."

In all seriousness, Douglas is grateful for how the locker room welcomed him this season. At the time he signed with the Packers, he only knew a few players, including former Philadelphia teammate Chandon Sullivan. By the end of the year, Douglas felt connected to the entire locker room.

"They embraced me good – like family, like a brother," Douglas said. "Good conversations. Good people. They're all great people. I wished we'd had more opportunities to play together as a whole with everyone healthy. I would have wished for that more, but they welcomed me as a brother."

Douglas knows his future is also somewhat out of his hands. For now, he wants to get his mind right, his body healed and prepare for the start of free agency.

Douglas remains grateful for the opportunity the Packers gave him to revitalize his career after getting released twice in the span of a few weeks during training camp.

"I built a family here," Douglas said. "I've still got some unfinished business, I feel like, to handle. Of course, I want to be here. But I don't think that's all my decision to make."

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