GREEN BAY – For the second straight year, the Packers have ventured into unrestricted free agency to help their special teams.
The Packers have added former Los Angeles Rams long snapper Matt Orzech, a move that comes almost exactly one year after signing veteran punter Pat O'Donnell away from the Chicago Bears.
Orzech, 27, has played in 50 career games over his three NFL seasons. Prior to his two seasons with the Rams, Orzech broke into the league as the Jacksonville Jaguars' long snapper in 2019.
Here are five things to know about Orzech:
1. He's overcome a lot to realize his NFL dreams.
A native of San Diego, Orzech played at NCAA Division II Azusa (Ca.) Pacific from 2013-18. He played in 11 games as a long snapper during his true freshman year in 2013. As a sophomore, Orzech served as a blocking tight end for an offense that averaged 269.3 rushing yards per game and continued to play both ways until 2016. He missed his entire true senior year due to injury and then suffered a season-ending injury two games into his 2017 campaign. Orzech returned to play in 12 games in 2018, catching eight passes for 139 yards while also contributing on special teams.
2. Orzech was the first Azusa Pacific alum to play in a Super Bowl.
Orzech's first season in LA culminated in the Rams winning Super Bowl LVI. In the specialist room, Orzech worked with two of the best at their respective positions: sixth-time All-Pro punter Johnny Hekker and Pro Bowl kicker Matt Gay. Gay converted 32-of-34 field goals (94.1%) that year, while Hekker averaged 44.2 yards per punt.
3. He's played for five NFL teams.
Like most long snappers, Orzech entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2019. He didn't make the Ravens' roster but was claimed by Jacksonville, where Orzech replaced veteran Matt Overton in 2019. Orzech was cut the following September and spent time on Miami's practice squad before signing with Tennessee. Orzech never appeared in a game with the Titans, who released him from his futures contract on May 10, 2021.
4. Orzech quietly factored into the Packers' long-snapping situation in 2021.
The Rams claimed Orzech off waivers from Tennessee. That summer, he beat out Steven Wirtel for LA's long-snapping job. Wirtel would sign to the Packers' practice squad days later and eventually was promoted midseason to the active roster after Green Bay released Hunter Bradley. Orzech is the third former Rams specialist Green Bay has acquired over the past two years (Wirtel and punter Corey Bojorquez).
5. Baseball opened the door to Orzech's career as a long snapper.
Orzech's first love was baseball. He lettered two years as a pitcher and first baseman at Paloma Valley High School, where he batted .354 with five doubles as a senior. A two-way player in football, Orzech recorded 55 tackles and nine sacks as a defensive end and six catches for 97 yards and a touchdown as a tight end. While football proved to be Orzech's calling, his pitching background is what led to Orzech becoming a long snapper. "(Azusa Pacific) was a Division II school ... and that gave him an opportunity to play both (baseball and football)," said Orzech's father, Matt, told NBC Los Angeles in 2022. "The coach asked him, 'Have you ever long snapped?' And he said, 'No.' And he goes, 'Well, you're a pitcher for baseball, you should be able to do this."