All professional athletes have their moments when they struggle on the field. Kevin King just happened to have his occur all in one game. The Green Bay Packers cornerback had the worst game of his career against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC title game last year with the whole nation watching.
King spoke with reporters about the game Tuesday. He finally addressed his performance, contradicting himself in the process.
Kevin King had an ugly performance in the NFC title game
King had a rough go against Tom Brady and the Bucs. While he had his share of mistakes, his biggest one was a mental one.
With the Packers trailing 14-10 and the Buccaneers sitting at the Green Bay 39-yard line with time running out in the first half, all King had to do was keep his receiver in front of him. At the very least, the Bucs kick a field goal, and the Packers are still within one score. Instead, Bucs receiver Scotty Miller somehow got behind King and hauled in a 39-yard touchdown pass with one second left. The Bucs entered halftime with a 21-10 lead and some serious momentum.
All that happened after King mistimed his jump that led to Mike Evans’ first-quarter touchdown. It also happened before King grabbed the jersey of Buccaneers receiver Tyler Johnson on third down with less than two minutes remaining. King was flagged for pass interference, and the Packers never got the ball back. The Buccaneers won 31-26, earning a berth in the Super Bowl.
Kevin King went silent for seven months
King’s performance is one he’s probably like to forget. It appears he tried to do so. For seven months, he never spoke publicly about the game. He finally addressed the January game on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.
“I’m not the type of guy that just tries to sweep s— under the rug, you know (and then say) all right, let me get a fresh start somewhere,'” King said in his first meeting with reporters since the game, according to ESPN. “No. I want to finish this with my guys, you know what I’m saying? The guys who’ve believed in me and the guys who continue to believe in me. And like I said, I’m going to do my part to uphold my side of the bargain, but … we’re here to win a Super Bowl.”
He doesn’t sweep anything under the rug? King never spoke about the game until he had to. That’s sweeping it under the rug. Not wanting to talk about a game like that is understandable, but it’s tough to believe someone who goes silent and then says he’s not trying to avoid it.
King is a player who’s active on social media. He tweeted during the season but then went two months without a post after the game. He addressed the death of former Packers GM Ted Thompson right before the Tampa game. King didn’t post again until March 23, when the Packers inked him to a one-year deal.
King returns to the Packers one a one-year deal
In a bit of a surprising move, the Packers brought back King on a one-year deal worth $6 million. King is an established player selected in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft by Green Bay. His best season came in 2019 when he played in 15 games and recorded a career-high five interceptions. He has six in his four-year career.
King said he challenged himself this offseason. He wants to learn from the NFC Championship Game and help get the Packers over the hump and into the Super Bowl.
“You listen to all these guys who have the greatest success stories. They’ve all used those quote-unquote ‘failures’ as turning points,” King said. “In their minds, as humans, it’s kind of just evolving in that stage of life. So, I’ve challenged myself all offseason and continue to challenge myself to come out better from that situation, so quote-unquote ‘failure,’ that’s just a word.”