GREEN BAY – Jared Veldheer is back.
The Packers have re-signed the 10-year veteran tackle for the playoff run. A third-round pick out of Hillsdale (Mich.) College in 2010, Veldheer played the final four games (including playoffs) of the 2019 season with Green Bay.
The 6-foot-8, 321-pound tackle has started 114 of his 121 career regular-season games in his time with Indianapolis, Green Bay, Denver (2018), Arizona (2014-17) and Oakland (2010-13).
Here are five things to know about Veldheer and the move:
1. Veldheer's signing is unprecedented.
If Veldheer suits up for the Packers for Saturday's game against the Rams, he would become the first player in NFL history to play for two different teams in the same postseason.
It was made possible because of the expanded practice-squad rules the NFL implemented for the 2020 season due the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, allowing teams to carry two veterans on their 16-man practice squad regardless of how long they've played in the league.
The Indianapolis Colts used the measure to sign Veldheer to the practice squad on Dec. 31 after left tackle Anthony Castonzo suffered a season-ending ankle injury in practice on Dec. 24.
Veldheer was elevated for the Colts' Week 17 win over Jacksonville and their AFC Wild Card game against the Buffalo Bills, starting both games at left tackle in Castonzo's stead.
Since practice-squad contracts expire as soon as a team's season ends, Veldheer was permitted to sign immediately with another team.
"You can never have enough great players, and Jared's a guy we definitely hold in high regard," Head Coach Matt LaFleur said.
"We've gotta kind of just wait and see, how much recall he has last year. What's interesting is that he just played in a game this weekend with a totally different offense. We'll try to get him acclimated and welcome him back as quickly as possible."
2. He made a crucial emergency start in the Packers' last postseason run.
Veldheer stepped up on short notice during Green Bay's NFC Divisional game against Seattle last January after right tackle Bryan Bulaga came down with a stomach virus the night before the game. While Bulaga was technically active, Veldheer found out definitively he'd be starting roughly "20 minutes" before kickoff. The 33-year-old tackle was up to the task in helping keep the pocket clean for Aaron Rodgers in a 28-23 victory, two weeks after Veldheer finished the Packers' regular-season finale in Detroit after Bulaga exited with a concussion.
"Jared stepped in and did a great job, he really did," said Rodgers after the game. "I was teasing him in the third quarter during a long TV timeout, I said, 'You were retired this year and here you are starting a playoff game.' And he said, 'Hey, I was at your first game (against Chicago) in the stands.' It's funny how life is sometimes. But we're really happy to have him and he's been really good for us."
3. Veldheer has started at both tackle positions…and once at center.
After an All-American career at Division II Hillsdale, Veldheer started 11 games as a rookie with Oakland in 2010. He made his first NFL start at center before eventually settling in at left tackle, where he started for the Raiders the next 2½ years prior to a season-ending triceps injury in 2013. He signed with the Cardinals as a free agent in 2014, starting his first three seasons in Arizona at left tackle before moving to right tackle in 2017.
Snapshots of re-signed Green Bay Packers T Jared Veldheer.
4. He was teammates with Billy Turner in Denver, starting alongside him last year.
Veldheer made 12 starts at right tackle for the Broncos in 2018 after being acquired in a trade with the Arizona Cardinals on March 23, 2018. He missed four games in October with a knee injury. His replacement? Current Packers right guard Turner, who bumped over from left guard to start in Veldheer's place. He also lined up next to Turner in Green Bay last year, when Turner served as the Packers' starting right guard for all 18 games (including playoffs).
5. Injuries initially caused Veldheer to step away from the game.
Veldheer signed with the Patriots in May 2019 with the hope of competing for a starting post at left tackle before a nagging hip injury resurfaced during his first OTA practice with New England, causing him to temporarily step away from the game. He opted to retire again after the 2019 season before signing with the Colts.
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