Rasul Douglas goes from practice squad to Thursday night spotlight

Packers cornerback scores game-ending interception against his former team

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Packers CB Rasul Douglas

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."

The Packers' defense didn't have the services on Thursday night of defensive coordinator Joe Barry, who didn't make the trip due to COVID-19 protocols. Despite missing several key players, the defense played well out of the gate with a single 55-yard completion to DeAndre Hopkins accounting for more than half of the Cardinals' total yards (98) in the first half.

Arizona's high-powered offense came to life near the end of the third quarter and had a chance to take the lead in the final three minutes of the game after the Packers turned the ball over on downs at the Cardinals' 1-yard line.

Arizona was driving at the two-minute warning thanks to big passes to Green (23 yards) and Christian Kirk (29), which put the Cardinals back in Green Bay territory.

"You've just got to know the circumstances. Once he passes the 50, we know they're in field-goal range," Douglas said. "Don't give up the big play, make them dink and dunk, the clock is going to keep going and maybe we get a stop or maybe we get an interception. If not, they just kick a field goal and go to overtime."

And an interception is exactly what the Packers received. While Douglas' last INT came in the Eagles' 2018 regular-season finale, the veteran cornerback had a premonition he might come up with one after watching film of his former team.

The Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals faced off on Thursday Night Football on Oct. 28, 2021.

When the opportunity presented itself, Douglas put an emphatic stamp on the Packers' seventh win of the season. After the interception, Douglas celebrated with a simple wave "bye" to the Arizona crowd.

"That was probably the first time I've won a game like that," Douglas said. "It was like a shocking feeling, like 'Oh snap, we just won off that play.' I was like kinda surprised. I just saw Stokes running down, like 'You just said you were going to get a pick.' And I was like, 'Well, it just came to life.'"

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