CB Breeland adds veteran presence to Packers with House out
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A ride on a golf cart during an offseason trip to the Dominican Republic changed the course of Bashaud Breeland’s NFL career.
The cornerback’s left foot was hanging out of the cart during that March trip when it was bumped by another cart that clipped Breeland’s foot. An old wound that Breeland suffered in fourth grade reopened.
A couple weeks later, an agreement that Breeland had struck in free agency with the Carolina Panthers fell through. A longer-than-expected waiting game began.
Finally, Breeland is back in the NFL with the Packers.
After his first practice with Green Bay on Wednesday, Breeland said he was surprised it took him six months to finally hook on with a team.
“Being one of the first defensive backs taken off the board early in free agency to not even having a team to play for, yeah I had those thoughts,” Breeland said. “But I don’t regret it.”
It was certainly fortuitous for the Packers, who signed Breeland after placing veteran Davon House on injured reserve with a shoulder injury.
A fifth-year player out of Clemson, Breeland played 60 games with 57 starts in four years with the Washington Redskins. The 5-foot-11 Breeland had 267 tackles and eight interceptions while with the Redskins. He had a career-high 19 pass deflections last season.
The Packers feel fortunate to have picked up an experienced veteran four weeks into the season.
“I’m always interested in the ball skills of the defensive backs. He definitely has that,” coach Mike McCarthy said. “So, experienced player and I think he’s an excellent addition, especially at this point in the season.”
Veteran Tramon Williams and second-year player Kevin King are the starters, though King missed last week’s loss to the Redskins with a groin injury. King also missed practice on Wednesday.
Promising rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson are the primary backups. House, who played mainly on special teams, is in the second year of his second stint in Green Bay, having initially been drafted by the Packers in 2011.
Breeland had workouts with other teams. But on Sunday, he didn’t watch his old team, the Redskins, beat what turned out to be his next team, the Packers.
“I kind of distanced myself from football at the time, you know what I mean? It’s kind of hard,” Breeland said.
But the Packers called two days ago, and Breeland said that “they answered that prayer for me.” He said he felt he was back at 100 percent about a couple months ago, and the Packers are apparently satisfied that’s the case, too.
He said his initial injury traces back to when he his foot apparently caught on the spokes of a bicycle when he was in the fourth grade. That injury required a skin graft. Breeland said he was told by doctors that the foot got infected after getting bumped by the cart while in the Dominican Republic.
While the Packers also showed interest in Breeland in free agency, Carolina made the biggest push.
“But I’m here now. Everything happens for a reason,” Breeland said. “I don’t really regret what happened. I feel like it was meant to bring me here.”
NOTES: QB Aaron Rodgers (left knee) did not practice, as has been the case at midweek since he got hurt in the season-opening win over Chicago. He has missed the first two days of practice the last couple weeks to focus on rehab, while returning to practice on Saturday. The tradeoff is that the rehab allows Rodgers to play on Sundays. Rodgers and the receivers do still talk about different situations and routes in the film room. “The only difference is I’m not out there actually making the throws at practice and communicating with them in the moment, but we’re still getting the same conversations that we need to have,” he said. “But again, that’s the stress right now on me not practicing and being out there and have to be in the rehab group. That makes it a little more difficult.” ... TE Jimmy Graham (knee), RG Justin McCray (shoulder) and LB Nick Perry (concussion protocol) also missed practice. ... RT Bryan Bulaga (back) and S Josh Jones (ankle) were limited.