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Former Packers OT Veldheer Suspended, Retires

Jared Veldheer saved the Packers in 2019 and might have done it again in 2020 had he not tested positive for COVID-19.
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GREEN BAY, Wis. – Former Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who twice came out of retirement and was considering it again, made it official on Thursday after being suspended by the NFL.

Veldheer was suspended for six games by the NFL on Thursday for violating the league’s policy against performance enhancing drugs.

In a statement to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, Veldheer said he was prescribed “low dose” clomiphene citrate, which is an alternative to testosterone that is used to combat low testosterone levels. Veldheer said his low T was “likely caused from pituitary damage suffered from repeated blow to the head.”

In the statement, he added, “I recommend this to any veteran who is struggling with post-football issues. I also plan to retire at this time from the NFL.”

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Having signed with the Patriots in free agency in 2019, he retired during OTAs. When he changed his mind late in the season, he joined the Packers. Veldheer delivered two critical performances in place of Bryan Bulaga, first due to a concussion and then when Bulaga missed the Seattle playoff game due to illness.

He retired again but was coaxed back when the Colts lost left tackle Anthony Costanzo near the end of the season. Signed to the practice squad, he started in Week 17 and in the playoffs. When the Colts were eliminated, he reverted back to the practice squad. The Packers grabbed him but he tested positive for COVID and never played. Had he been available to replace All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari, who knows if the outcome of the NFC Championship Game against Tampa Bay might have been different.

Asked before free agency if re-signing Veldheer was a possibility, given Bakhtiari is coming off a torn ACL and might not be ready for Week 1, a source at the time said Veldheer was going to retire.

“It was an unbelievable opportunity,” he said after the Packers lost at San Francisco in the 2019 NFC Championship Game. “It was really cool how it all played out. I was driving down [from his home in Michigan to Indiana] to visit family on Thanksgiving, got claimed and came up here. It was one of the more fun seasons that I’ve been a part of. To actually be a part of it and play in some big situations was really great. To get to know everybody and be a part of the history here, it was really cool.”

A third-round pick in 2010 out of Division II Hillsdale, Veldheer started 114 games in 11 seasons. He started all 16 games in four of his first six seasons.