GREEN BAY, Wis. – Green Bay Packers offensive tackle Jared Veldheer, who was signed off the Indianapolis Colts’ practice squad on Monday to provide critical depth on the line, was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list on Wednesday evening.
Veldheer spent the last two weeks with the Indianapolis Colts and was set to become the first player in NFL history to play for two different teams during the same postseason. The Colts were eliminated by the Buffalo Bills in the wild-card round on Saturday. A source said the Colts have had a COVID outbreak over the past couple days.
So, with a trip to the NFC Championship Game on the line, coach Matt LaFleur has something else to worry about beyond how his team will attack the Los Angeles Rams' ferocious defense.
As is always the case with COVID, the issue isn’t so much the one positive test but whether there will be a spread ahead of Saturday’s playoff game against the Rams. As it stands, the Packers have been deemed free of high-risk close contacts. The offensive line has taken over the massive media auditorium for its position group meetings, so there is plenty of room for social distancing.
Veldheer was coaxed out of retirement to join the Colts for their playoff push following Anthony Costanzo's season-ending injury. Initially signed to their practice squad, he was elevated and started in Week 17 and again for Saturday's wild-card playoff game. After the loss to Buffalo, Veldheer reverted back to the practice squad. That’s how the Packers snagged him to provide critical, proven depth at offensive tackle.
“It’s kind of crazy that he was playing in a game for another team what was it, three or four days ago? It’s a wild year, man. It’s pretty crazy,” center Corey Linsley said on Tuesday.
Veldheer went through COVID testing in Indianapolis on Monday, then hopped in a car for the six-hour drive to Green Bay, a source said. Did Veldheer get the virus after the test? Did he pick it up along the way to Green Bay?
Whatever the reason, after practicing on Tuesday, he was not present on Wednesday.
Veldheer was a critical late-season addition last year. He replaced right tackle Bryan Bulaga (concussion) at Detroit with a first-round bye on the line. Two weeks later, with Bulaga out due to the illness that had swept through the locker room, he was the emergency starter in the playoff win over Seattle. In a total of 53 pass-protecting snaps, he did not allow a single pressure, according to PFF.
Veldheer was the lone noteworthy change to the injury report.
For the Rams, All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald did not practice but is expected to play.
“Man, my damn side is just sore. I’m good though. I ain’t going to sit here and talk about my damn side the whole time,” Donald joked with Rams beat reporters. “I’m good. I just had a whole workout. I feel strong, I feel healthy so I’m good.”
Packers Injury Report
DNP: Marcedes Lewis (knee), DT Kingsley Keke (concussion), OT Jared Veldheer (not injury related)
Limited: CB Kevin King (Achilles), WR Allen Lazard (core/wrist), OLB Za’Darius Smith (ankle/thumb), WR Equanimeous St. Brown (knee/ankle), RT Rick Wagner (knee).
Rams Injury Report
Did not participate: DT Aaron Donald (ribs), G David Edwards (ankle), WR Cooper Kupp (knee), OLB Terrell Lewis (ankle), QB John Wolford (neck).
Limited: LT Andrew Whitworth (knee).
Full: QB Jared Goff (right thumb), WR/KR Nsimba Webster (hamstring).