Fumble, fumble, rush for 1 yard, ankle injury.
Talk about a disaster of an NFL debut.
That was Green Bay Packers rookie running back Devante Mays’ line from his first chance to play from scrimmage in Sunday’s shutout loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The bum ankle, which was revealed when he showed up on Wednesday’s injury report, added injury to insult.
The thing is, the Packers might need him again this Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Packers are likely to be without their top-two running backs again this week. Leading rusher Aaron Jones (ankle) injury is out for sure, while the No. 2 man Ty Montgomery (ribs) did not practice again on Wednesday.
That leaves Jamaal Williams as the starter and Mays as the backup — if coach Mike McCarthy can trust him, that is. McCarthy admitted after the game he “lost confidence” in Mays.
“I’ve just got to show them that they can count on me,” Mays said Wednesday. “I know that they were counting on me, and I didn’t step up like I wanted to. This game, I’m going to do a better job of that.”
It was all new territory for Mays, the fumbling and the questions that inevitably followed. After the game, he sat shell-shocked in his locker and declined to answer questions.
The seventh-round pick finally was ready to address it three days after he fumbled on his first two NFL carries. Mays said he never fumbled in his two years at Utah State, where he carried 202 times. As a pro, he has two fumbles (one lost) in three carries.
“The first time, it was just not knowing the play, really, what the play was,” Mays said. “It was just everything wasn’t right on that, and then second time it was just my fault. I’ve just got to put two hands on the ball, and I know that it’s my job to take care of the ball. Just got to do a better job at that.”
Mays said he thought the first play was a handoff but instead it was a toss play, so he was off kilter from the start.
“Initially I went down when I was supposed to be going out for the toss, so that’s what happened with that one,” he said. “It was a mistake on my part with the handoff. Because if I would’ve took the right path, I wouldn’t have been there, and it wouldn’t have happened. The guy got his arm in there. And the second one, I really don’t know what happened there.”
After the game, Mays received consolation from Jones and several other players but sat in his locker with his uniform on while most other players had already showered and changed.
“Like after, I was just shocked,” Mays said. “I couldn’t believe it happened.”
Mays was back on the practice field Wednesday, although he was a limited participant because of the ankle injury.