GREEN BAY, Wis. — All Damarious Randall would concede is that he has some “growing up” to do.
But anyone who expected the Green Bay Packers cornerback to explain what led to him getting benched and then kicked off the team’s sideline during Thursday night’s victory over the Chicago Bears will be disappointed.
Noting no fewer than eight times that it was “an internal matter,” Randall refused Wednesday to even acknowledge whether there was an argument with cornerbacks coach Joe Whitt or any other member of the Packers staff that preceded coach Mike McCarthy’s decision to send the third-year player to the locker room.
“Just kind of growing up, just being a little bit more professional,” Randall said when asked what he learned from the incident.
It apparently started after Bears receiver Kendall Wright caught a 5-yard touchdown pass with 8 seconds left in the second quarter. The Packers then opened the third quarter with Josh Hawkins in Randall’s place at right cornerback. At that point, Randall was seated on the bench while the rest of the defensive players were either on the field or standing along the sideline. Fellow cornerback Davon House, who was inactive, talked to Randall for a bit, and then Randall was gone.
“Probably just emotional,” House said. “Probably emotions flying around. That’s probably a question for him. It happened. I don’t know if anyone’s even worried about it anymore. We’re happy to have him back. He said what he needed to say and everyone forgives him.”
But Randall wouldn’t offer any details or explanations.
“I talked with coach on Friday, and ever since then everything is clear,” Randall said. “Just taking it day by day.”
Randall was back on the practice field Wednesday, and McCarthy indicated that Randall had returned to the cornerback rotation. Randall had started in place of House, who missed the past two games because of a quad injury. House returned to practice Wednesday.
“It’s been addressed and we’re moving forward,” McCarthy said. “But as far as everybody on our 53-man roster, we’re focused on beating Dallas. So whatever it takes to beat Dallas, that is my focus.”
Big things were expected of Randall this season after a disappointing 2016 for the 2015 first-round draft pick. Even though the Packers signed House in free agency and used their top pick this year on cornerback Kevin King, it looked as though Randall might find a home at the “star,” or slot position, in the nickel defense.
Now, he might be fighting just to keep his roster spot.
“Just do whatever the coaches ask me to do and just take it day by day,” Randall said. “And do whatever the team needs me to do to win games.”