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Zach Pascal Betting Stint With Cardinals Will Pay Off

Wide receiver reunited for third time with Gannon

New Cardinals wide receiver Zack Pascal records an interview for the "Big Red Rage" after signing his new contract on Wednesday.
New Cardinals wide receiver Zack Pascal records an interview for the "Big Red Rage" after signing his new contract on Wednesday.

The shirt was what caught the eye.

Zach Pascal arrived to sign his free agent contract with the Cardinals on Wednesday with "Bet On Yourself" emblazoned on the front. And the veteran wide receiver was purposeful in his choice.

"If you are a passionate football player, you want to succeed and you want to go to a place that allows you to give the opportunity to …" Pascal said, briefly pausing to point to his words on his chest, "bet on yourself."

Pascal ended up in the Super Bowl last season, a contributor in his one year with Philadelphia who played in every game. But after totaling 72, 71 and 69 pass targets in his previous three seasons with the Colts, his targets fell to 19 with the Eagles and a loaded offense that included A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith.

He comes to the Cardinals with a history with coach Jonathan Gannon – Gannon was with him in both Philly and Indianapolis – and a 6-foot-2 frame the Cardinals can use with smaller receivers such as Hollywood Brown, Rondale Moore and Greg Dortch on the roster (and especially if DeAndre Hopkins is traded.)

"These past couple of years, it grew into the mindset, 'You're not going to be in the league long. Bet on yourself,' " Pascal said a short time later while recording an interview for the "Big Red Rage." "If you have the confidence and trust in yourself, do that. Bet on yourself and your talent."

That doesn't mean Pascal is looking for 80 receptions, or that he would eschew his long-standing efforts on special teams. In his best seasons, 2019 and 2020 with the Colts, he had more than 40 catches and 600 yards each year. He'd like to at least approach those levels again.

And special teams will always be a passion.

"A lot of times in life you get put in a box," Pascal said. "I'm listed as a receiver, but I love playing football."

Where Pascal fits in the offense will be determined over the next several months. Where he fits in the locker room should come much sooner, his smile and outgoing nature allowing him to make quick connections.

He already has some. He joked how former and now current teammate Kyzir White was going to give him grief about his hair in his signing pictures. He is already tight with Gannon, a coach with whom he shared trash talk during practices in Philadelphia and Indianapolis.

"Whenever you come into an organization, you want to be able to meet guys you are able to bond with," Pascal said. "It's like creating a new family. You go out there on the field, you have to be able to come together as one."

Pascal knows winning teams, having made the postseason in three of his five seasons. But as he bets on himself, he can acknowledge he's craving a chance to make an impact.

"I don't even know if I can put it into words," he said.

Images of current and new Arizona Cardinals players signing their contracts with the team at the Dignity Health Training Facility