Wide receiver Jake Kumerow made his official NFL debut Sunday for the Green Bay Packers, but the former UW-Whitewater standout didn’t see much of the field as the Packers were stunned, 20-17, by the visiting Arizona Cardinals.
Kumerow, activated from injured reserve Saturday to take the place of injured receiver Trevor Davis, played mostly on special teams but did see a few snaps on offense in the second half.
Kumerow was targeted twice by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
His only catch—the first of his NFL career—came at the end of a crisp comeback route along the right sideline, resulting in an 11-yard gain and a first down for the Packers with about eight minutes left in the fourth quarter.
“Just a little specific play we had,” Kumerow said of his catch during a postgame interview. “That was my job—to run the right route and be in the right position at the right time.”
The drive ended with Aaron Jones crashing into the end zone for a game-tying score with 5:26 remaining.
Arizona went ahead on Zane Gonzalez’s 44-yard field goal with 1:41 left. Mason Crosby missed a 49-yard kick as time expired that would have forced overtime.
Kumerow, who totaled 158 receptions, 36 touchdowns and 2,648 receiving yards during a three-year career playing for UW-Whitewater, became a Packers fan favorite with his strong play during the preseason.
But he suffered a shoulder injury Aug. 16 while scoring a touchdown in the Packers’ third preseason game and was placed on injured reserve.
Kumerow returned to practice in late November and was reinstated to the active roster ahead of Sunday’s Week 13 game.
NFL rules allow teams to designate two players to return from injured reserve. The Packers used that rule to bring Kumerow and Davis back to the active roster. Davis reinjured a hamstring and went back on injured reserve Saturday, ending his season for good.
Kumerow signed with the Cincinnati Bengals as an undrafted free agent in 2015. He was promoted to the Bengals’ active roster ahead of their Week 17 game in 2016 but was deactivated before kickoff.
That was as close as he had come to playing in a regular season game—until Sunday.