Throughout his star-studded career at Florida State, Rashad Greene showed that he not only could catch the ball and score touchdowns; he showed that he was a winner. Ask Jameis Winston.
During his senior season in 2014, Greene caught 99 balls for 1,365 yards and 7 touchdowns. As an enticement to an NFL team considering taking him in the draft, Greene also returned 15 punts, averaging 10.7 yards per return.
When draft day 2015 came along, no one expected Greene to go on the first day; and they were right. When the second day passed with him still waiting, he had to wonder if he would get a decent opportunity to show the NFL what he could do.
By the time the Jacksonville Jaguars chose him with the 138th overall pick in the fifth round, 18 wide receivers had heard their name called before Greene. He clearly had something to prove to the rest of the league.
After a solid training camp, Greene was featured prominently in the Jaguars’ opening day lineup. He was targeted 13 times by quarterback Blake Bortles, catching 7 passes for 28 yards and a touchdown.
The next week against Miami, he was targeted only four times, catching two balls for only 7 yards. He then suffered a thumb injury that put him on Injured Reserve until November 19. Since his return, Greene has seen only 12 passes come his way during the four games, including four on Sunday.
Last week against the Tennessee Titans, his other skill paid off big. Greene returned a punt 63 yards to set up the go-ahead score in the Jaguars’ 19-13 victory.
He is clearly happy about being back and making a contribution. Greene also sounds like a humble rookie who enjoys being on an NFL team.
“It feels good just to be out there with my teammates, doing it together,” Greene said after his game-changing return against Tennessee. “We went out there and did it together, which is the most important thing.”
On Sunday, he topped that effort with a 73-yard punt return for a touchdown in the third quarter. His lightning strike put the Jaguars up by two scores and sent Jacksonville on their way to a 51-16 rout of the Indianapolis Colts.
Florida State fans, and foes, have memories of Rashad Greene making big plays at the end of games. The 2014 national championship game comes to mind.
Now, in the fourth quarter of his rookie season, he is showing the Jaguars that their faith in him was well placed. When he has the chance to play a full season, this dual-threat wide receiver may be a key cog to returning the Jaguars into regular playoff contenders.
With the weakness of the AFC South Division, Greene might even help them get in this year.
Unlikely? Perhaps, but who thought 18 receivers would be chosen before Rashad Greene?