GREEN BAY –The Packers added a veteran safety to their defense following Tuesday’s mandatory roster reduction.
Green Bay has signed sixth-year safety Rudy Ford, who has recorded 59 tackles and an interception in 56 career games to go along with 29 coverage tackles on special teams.
“Rudy’s a very accomplished special teams player in this league,” General Manager Brian Gutekunst said. “He’s one of the better gunners in the league. He’s got kind of a speed and physicality that we certainly covet. We were looking at that situation for a while. Little surprised that he got shaken loose, but when he did we were ready to get on that.”
Here are five things to know about Ford:
1. The Packers will be his fourth NFL team.
A sixth-round pick by Arizona in 2017, Ford spent his first two NFL seasons with the Cardinals before being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in 2019. There, he shared a secondary with Packers cornerback Rasul Douglas for one season. In 2021, Ford signed with Jacksonville as an unrestricted free agent and enjoyed his most productive NFL season. Fifty of his 59 career defensive tackles came with the Jaguars last year. Ford caught his first career interception off Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen last November. He finished that game with career highs in tackles (six) and passes defensed (three).
2. Ford has a lot of special-teams experience.
The 6-foot, 210-pound safety has been a staple on special teams everywhere he’s played in the NFL, recording 29 coverage tackles. He had his best special-teams season with the Eagles in 2020, recording 11 tackles (10 solo) in just eight games. Injuries have been a challenge for Ford, who has missed 25 regular-season games.
3. He led Auburn in tackles in back-to-back seasons.
A native of New Hope, Ala., Ford chose to stay in-state and play for the Tigers. He started 34 of his 52 career games in four seasons at Auburn, recording 275 (11 for a loss) tackles, 1½ sacks, five INTs, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He led the Tigers in tackles in back-to-back seasons, totaling 93 in 2014 and 118 in 2015.
4. Ford was ranked as the top running back prospect in Alabama, according to Rivals.
As a running back at New Hope (Ala.) High School, Ford rushed for 1,669 yards with 27 touchdowns as a senior. He was named Class 3A first-team all-state and chosen to play in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star game. He was ranked the No. 35 recruit in the state by Scout. During his first year at Auburn, Ford transitioned from running back to cornerback.
5. His first name is Jonathan.
Ford was given the childhood nickname “Rudy” by his uncle Phillip, based on the underdog football player, Daniel “Rudy” Ruettiger, from the movie of the same name. He grew up in Big Cove, Ala., with a high school of fewer than 400 students.
“I feel like that underdog,” Ford told AZCardinals.com in 2017. “I had to work my whole entire career.”