GREEN BAY, Wis. – Defensive lineman Jack Heflin, who spent most of the season on the Green Bay Packers’ roster, will return with a futures contract.
After spending all 18 weeks of the regular season on the 53, Heflin was released before the playoff game along with cornerback Isaac Yiadom in order to bring back outside linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Whitney Mercilus from injured reserve.
Heflin went undrafted out of Iowa but won a roster spot coming out of training camp. He played in only four games, totaling 17 snaps on defense and 13 more on special teams. He had one tackle against the Chiefs. By season’s end, he had fallen behind Anderson Abdullah on the depth chart.
Heflin had zero scholarship offers following his career at Erie-Prophetstown High School in Prophetstown, Ill. So, he walked on at Northern Illinois. After starring there, he transferred to Iowa for his senior season.
“My freshman year in college, I sat there and I was like, ‘You know, I’m here to play in the NFL,’” Heflin said during training camp. “That was my mind-set all along. I had blinders on. ‘I’m going to play in the NFL. I’m going to do whatever it takes.’
“Me, I don’t like to sit and think but I will say when we ran on the field against the Jets. The first time, you didn’t realize you’re just out there running. I kind of soaked it in last Saturday and I went up to Coach Gizzi and Tyler Lancaster, and I’m like, ‘This never gets old, does it?’ They said, ‘No, it only gets better.’ That was a moment. I was like, ‘Wow, this is the NFL.’”
An excellent preseason won him a spot on the roster, where he stayed for all 18 weeks of the regular season.
Defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery delivered the good news.
“The phone rang once and he picked up,” Montgomery recalled on Sept. 8. “I was going to play a joke on him. And I said, ‘You know what? I can’t do that.’ When we talked going through the free agent process and he decided to come here, I said, ‘If you come here and you do what you’re supposed to do, you’ll have an opportunity of making this team. You did that. You earned it. Nothing was given to you. You earned it. You took advantages of your opportunities,’ and, boy, you could feel him smiling through the phone, you know. You could hear him choke up a little bit and then I just said, ‘Enjoy the rest of the day. Call your family. You should be proud.’ I just told him the work’s not done. You’re still not where we need you to be.”