UPDATE: The Packers’ plan has backfired. Yikes.
The Packers are signing former Colts fill-in left tackle Jared Veldheer for their next playoff game.
The ankle injury that prompted left tackle Anthony Castonzo, who has since retired, to undergo surgery and be placed on injured reserve to close out the year forced the Indianapolis Colts’ hand in finding a last-minute replacement for Week 17 and ultimately, the first-round of the playoffs.
When all was said and done, the Colts signed veteran journeyman Jared Veldheer to their practice squad and he proved to be pretty serviceable for a player who was essentially signed off the street and asked to perform in must-win contests.
Because the 33-year-old was signed to Indy’s practice squad and not their 53-man roster, he was free to sign with another team as soon as they were eliminated from the playoffs. Amazingly enough, the Packers have promptly decided to pounce on this COVID-19 loophole and sign him.
In doing so, Veldheer, assuming he doesn’t spend the entire game on the sidelines for Green Bay this weekend, will become the first player in league history to appear for two different teams in the same postseason.
In normal circumstances, Veldheer would have to go through the league’s multi-step health and safety protocols before being cleared to practice, but because he was presumably in lockstep with the Colts’ testing program, he should be available to practice for the Packers right away.
As bizarre as it sounds, Green Bay is no stranger to taking a last-gasp flier on Veldheer, as they brought him out of retirement (!) to start at right tackle in last year’s Divisional Round win over Seattle after longtime starter Bryan Bulaga contracted an illness and was unfit to play.
Unfortunately for the Packers, their offensive line is once again banged up heading into the second weekend of the playoffs as Pro Bowl left tackle David Bakhtiari went down with a torn ACL in practice leading up to their regular season finale.
It’s worth noting that the Packers started right tackle Billy Turner in place of Bakhtiari and moved Rick Wagner over to his position, so Veldheer probably isn’t in line to start. However, he’ll no doubt serve as their top backup option at the tackle position for the remainder of the playoffs, which is absolutely mind-boggling when you consider he played 100% of the snaps for the Colts over the last two weeks.