Veteran lineman Jared Veldheer could become the first to play for two NFL teams in the same postseason
Veldheer was moved from the practice squad to the active roster by the Colts and after their playoff loss, he returned to the practice squad, which meant another team could sign him. Although new players were subject to a six-day intake process even if coming from another team, that changed late in the season to allow a player to join a team immediately if he was coming from another team and had been subject to coronavirus testing protocol.
The move was a necessity for the Packers, who lost David Bakhtiari for the rest of the season to a knee injury he suffered in practice before the regular season finale and Veldheer, who played in every offensive snap for the Colts against the Bills, was a handy solution. He gives the Packers depth and has an added advantage because he was with the Packers, who brought him out of retirement in November 2019. He started in the divisional round win over the Seattle Seahawks. This time, he’ll back up Rick Wagner, who has been dealing with injuries to both his knees and is in doubt for the game against the Rams and their formidable pass rush, led by Aaron Donald.
Veldheer, a 33-year-old tackle, has started in 114 games over his career, with additional stops in Denver, Arizona and Oakland. A third-round draft pick by the Raiders out of Hillsdale College in 2010, he was out of the league until 2019 when he joined the Packers late in the season. Just as he did in the 2019 season, all it took to get him to play again was a call and he joined the Colts in December, starting in Week 17 as well.
Veldheer had been keeping in shape during his time away from the game and coached offensive linemen at East Grand Rapids, Mich., High School in his hometown. When the Colts called, he was ready. “I do a lot of training out of leisure,” he told The Athletic. “It’s kind of a hobby of mine, not to sound like a meathead or anything.”
The playbook was another matter. “I went to a good school, Hillsdale College, and they taught me how to study,” Veldheer said. “I went through all their pre-med courses, and there was a lot of challenging stuff.”
Veldheer has played on two teams that advanced to the conference championship game (the Cardinals in 2015 and last year’s Packers) and now he joins a team that many think may play in the Super Bowl.
It’s an unusual opportunity “especially being away from the game the majority of the season,” he said. “When you’re sitting at home watching football week after week, you really get itchy to finally get to the Super Bowl and get a ring.”