A third-round pick in 2010, the 6-foot-8, 321-pound offensive tackle has started 113 of the 118 regular-season games he’s played in Oakland (2010-13), Arizona (’14-17) and Denver (’18).
Veldheer, 32, signed with the Patriots this past May before retiring a week later. He was waived off New England’s reserve/retired list this week after recently expressing a desire to return to football.
Here are five things to know about the Packers’ newest offensive lineman:
1. Veldheer has started at both tackle positions…and once at center.
After an All-American career at Division II Hillsdale (Mich.) College, 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.
2. He was teammates with Billy Turner in Denver.
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 stead. “He’s a good dude, man. He’s an athlete,” Turner said of Veldheer this week. “He’s been there, he’s done that; he’s played multiple positions. More than anything, he’s smart and he’s able to go from scheme to scheme and adapt. He proved that last year when I was with him in Denver.”
3. Injuries initially caused Veldheer to step away from the game.
Veldheer signed with the Patriots in May 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. “(The decision) was easy because of knowing what my body was telling me, but it was hard because I was leaving a very good situation being with the Patriots,” Veldheer told mlive.com in June. “(Bill Belichick) understood, and everyone in the NFL building understands that the sport can do a number on your body and different guys have different timelines on how long they can make it through.”
4. He remains the only Hillsdale alumnus to be drafted since 1980.
When the Raiders drafted Veldheer in the third round (69th overall) in 2010, he became the first Charger to be drafted into the NFL since Pittsburgh chose receiver Nate Johnson in the seventh round (193rd overall) in 1980. While Green Bay has drafted three Hillsdale alumni, only one (kicker Chester Marcol, 1972-80) suited up for the Packers.
5. Veldheer was born and raised in Grand Rapids, Mich., which he still calls home.
He is a graduate of Forest Hills High School, where Veldheer was named the team’s most valuable lineman and all-conference as a senior. He’s also co-owner of PowerStrength Training Systems gym in Grand Rapids, which he opened during the NFL lockout in 2011.