Offensive tackle Jared Veldheer is back with the Green Bay Packers, giving him an opportunity to compete in playoff games for different teams on back-to-back weekends.
Veldheer was with the Packers for Tuesday's practice. The Packers (13-3) are hosting the Los Angeles Rams (11-6) in an NFC divisional playoff game Saturday.
The 33-year-old Veldheer was the Indianapolis Colts’ starting left tackle for their final two games, including a 27-24 AFC first-round playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills last weekend.
Because the Colts merely elevated him from the practice squad for game day and didn’t officially sign him to their 53-man roster, the Packers were able to sign him this week. The Packers announced the signing Tuesday and made room for him by placing guard Simon Stepaniak on injured reserve.
Veldheer joined the Packers late last season and was their starting right tackle for a divisional playoff victory over the Seattle Seahawks when an illness left Bryan Bulaga unable to play in that game.
“I think we’ve got to kind of just wait and see, how much recall he has last year,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said Tuesday. “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. But as far as what the expectations are, I think that remains to be seen.”
The addition of Veldheer gives the Packers more options as they try to replace All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who is out for the remainder of the season after injuring his knee during a Dec. 31 practice.
Green Bay replaced Bakhtiari for its regular-season finale by moving right tackle Billy Turner over to left tackle and starting Rick Wagner at right tackle. The rest of the line included Pro Bowl left guard Elgton Jenkins, All-Pro center Corey Linsley and right guard Lucas Patrick.
The Packers used that same starting five when Bakhtiari missed three games with broken ribs earlier this season. Wagner was battling a knee injury toward the end of the regular season, though he continued to play. The Packers' injury report says Wagner was a limited practice participant Tuesday.
“You can never have enough players, and Jared’s a guy we definitely hold in high regard,” LaFleur said. “So it definitely adds depth to that room, which you can’t have enough of.”
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