The legs looked good. The forehead, not so much.
“I don’t have that training camp forehead,’’ Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant said Sunday, acknowledging the large, red bruise just above his eyebrows. “My forehead is still soft.’’
Nothing else about Grant or his performance was yielding Sunday. Pressed into extended playing time because of a concussion suffered by starter Alex Green, Grant doubled the number of carries he had all season with 20, produced 80 yards and a 4.0 average and found the end zone twice during the Packers’ 55-7 public undressing of Tennessee.
“It’s great to have Ryan back,” said Packers coach Mike McCarthy. “He gives us so much more off the field but he’s such a hard-nosed, downhill runner and I really like the 1-2 punch today (with DuJuan Harris).”
It was just the fourth game this season for Grant, who was picked up in Week 14 by Green Bay after a short stint in Washington where he had only one carry. It was also his most productive game since Dec. 11, 2011, when he ran for 85 yards and two scores in a 46-16 win against Oakland.
Grant topped 80 yards only twice all of last season while sharing time with James Starks — against the Raiders and in Week 3 at Chicago (92 yards).
The Packers elected not to re-sign him after last season and after Grant was cut by Washington in late October, it appeared his career might be finished.
But in a desperate situation after Starks injured his knee Dec. 2, the Packers finally found his number.
“This game is a funny game, crazy game,’’ Grant said. “So, yeah, I don’t put anything past it.’’
This was not a game in which Grant believed he had anything to prove to anybody, save for Ryan Grant.
“I’m very prideful about the way I perform,’’ he said. “I’m proud of myself, so I’m the biggest critic. I need to see what I showed myself, and I’m sure there were a couple of runs where I wanted to do this and this and that.
“But if just felt good to be able to contribute on that level.’’
Grant said there was never any self-doubt or loss of confidence in his abilities.
“That was not my choice. There was no doubt about myself. I know what I can do,’’ he said. “There was no reason to doubt myself.’’
And if there was doubt still lingering on what exactly he would be able to contribute to a playoff-bound team, much of that went by the wayside Sunday.
“It’s been great having him back and that’s the kind of thing that we expect from him,’’ said left tackle Marshall Newhouse. “He’s been here before and we’ve seen him do that kind of stuff.
“I’m sure it’s been extra gratifying for him. I’m sure he’s not in this to not get a Super Bowl. That’s the ultimate goal and we’re just kind of getting ready for this playoff run and I’m sure he’s in tune with that.’’
Grant said upon his return to Green Bay that he wasn’t here just to be a feel-good story.
And after Sunday, there was much to feel good about when it comes to Grant and the meaningful contributions he can bring to a team with high aspirations.
“The only think I can do is take care of what I can control of,’’ he said, “and that’s make sure I perform.’’
— firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCMikeW.