Haason Reddick knelt at the Cardinals bench after Sunday’s victory over the Giants, tears welled up in his face.
When he stood up and headed for the MetLife Stadium pitch, it just seemed right that Steve Keim was there to hug him.
The first round election and the CEO who elected him were heavily criticized in the first three years of Reddick’s career after failing to enter as an internal defender. But the move to an external linebacker not only renewed Reddick’s career, but also made it into the Cardinals ’record books.
The game of the New Jersey native’s life was played by a 26-7 win over the Giants, bringing in five sacks and three compelling franchise records. Reddick became the first player in Green Bay since 2002, Vonnie Holliday, to publish such ridiculous statistics.
“I’m still processing, I’m still accommodating,” Reddick said. “I cried at the end of the game, it filled me with joy. I felt blessed. This whole year was important to me, and to see things the way I wanted to see today is just amazing.”
Reddick had an early striptease and then on his own destroyed hopes of a return to New York by accumulating four bags in the fourth quarter.
Coach Cliff Kingsbury wasn’t there for the first two years of Reddick’s NFL career, but he never saw the rage prevail over him last season when it was clear the inner quarterback wasn’t going to succeed.
“When such a guy – who insists on it, who didn’t let the noise calm him down, don’t let any frustration down, just worked on – has a game like that, you can’t be happier for it,” Kingsbury said.
After five sacks in the first seven weeks of the season, Reddick did not register a bag or quarterback in the five games that preceded it. This week, however, he arrived at the Dignity Health Training Center and told his teammate Markus Golden that an outbreak against the Giants was expected.
“The gaze that ran in his eyes all week, I knew he was going to be big,” Golden said. – I don’t know how big it will be.