Packers FB John Lovett stayed flexible on his path to the NFL

Former Ivy League QB looking to break into the NFL as a fullback

FB John Lovett

GREEN BAY – John Lovett always dreamed of one day playing in the NFL and was willing to line up anywhere to make it happen.

Quarterback. Fullback. Tight end. Just say the position and he's there.

A two-time All-American QB at Princeton, Lovett had legitimate credentials. He completed 208 of 313 passes for 2,509 yards with 31 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while adding another 1,589 yards and 42 TDs on the ground.

Yet, it seemed more likely the 6-foot-2, 234-pound athlete's NFL future would be at a skill position than under center. So Lovett did everything at his pro day, from throwing passes to running routes as a tight end and out of the backfield.

The position was irrelevant. The destination was all that mattered.

"I was going in with an open mind," Lovett said. "My coach from college was telling me that a lot of teams expressed interest as that H-back position and … my goal from when I was a little kid was to have a good NFL career. It was to make the NFL, not to necessarily play a certain position."

On paper, Lovett's versatile skillset aligned perfectly with what Packers Head Coach Matt LaFleur values most from fullbacks – Lovett can run, block, and catch passes out of the backfield.

Yet, it's still been a race against time for Lovett, who came to Green Bay last month as a waiver claim from Kansas City. Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the NFL instituted, Lovett needed to be tested three times before he was allowed to join the team.

While quarantined at a nearby hotel, Lovett lived in his playbook for three days and sat in on Zoom meetings until he was finally given the green light. He compared the experience to preparing for a final exam at Princeton.

"I really looked at it as an opportunity to get into my playbook and draw up plays and study as much as possible," Lovett said. "So I was ready to roll once I had my foot in the building."

Lovett entered the league last year with Kansas City as an undrafted free agent. He didn't need to drastically alter his body to fit the vision the Chiefs had for him as a move tight end, only adding roughly 10 pounds to his frame to make the switch.

The transition was going smoothly until Lovett suffered a shoulder injury last August that landed him on season-ending injured reserve. He spent the entire year on IR (winning a Super Bowl ring in the process) before being released in July.

Riding the waiver wire at an uncertain time, Lovett was excited when his agent informed him the Packers had put in a claim. The former Ivy Leaguer picked up the playbook quickly and was a full participant in all 12 practices of training camp.

"It was definitely a crazy 24 hours from lows to highs," said Lovett of the emotions of being released and then claimed. "(I'm) just excited to keep going and thankful to this organization for giving me an opportunity to keep chasing my dreams."

Lovett is currently the only fullback on the Packers' 80-man roster, though tight ends Josiah Deguara, Jace Sternberger and Robert Tonyan have experience playing H-back, as well.

For that reason, Lovett offers no predictions about what will happen when all 32 NFL teams reduce their rosters to 53 players by 3 p.m. CT on Saturday.

Lovett plans to kick back, listen to some music and unwind to pass the nerve-wracking day. After spending his rookie season on IR, Lovett is grateful to have had the opportunity to show what he can do over the past month.

"Obviously, I was tremendously excited to get brought into this organization and have the opportunity I have in front of me," Lovett said. "Coach LaFleur has a great history of utilizing guys with similar body types to myself, that kind of H-back position. So I'm just excited to come in here, work my tail off, and do what I'm asked to do."

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