GREEN BAY – Eight years ago, when Brett Goode first got the call to join the Packers as a long snapper, he was hard at work with a construction crew, pouring concrete for a driveway back home in Fort Smith, Ark.
The other day, when he got the call to return to Green Bay, he was with family, hanging out on his mom’s couch and making vacation plans he didn’t really want to keep.
“We were talking about maybe going down to the beach if nobody called in the next couple weeks,” he said.
Goode won’t be visiting the beach anytime soon. He’s back for a ninth season as Green Bay’s long snapper, fully recovered from the ACL injury he sustained last season in Week 15 at Oakland.
The Packers chose to go with Goode over Rick Lovato, who had replaced him for the balance of 2015 and was with the team all through training camp. Head Coach Mike McCarthy said on Monday the team’s “history” with Goode was the primary factor in the decision.
That history includes never having a bad snap on a punt or placekick in nearly eight full seasons.
“It’s great to have him back in the building,” McCarthy said.
Goode, whose contract expired after last season, entered the offseason as a rehabbing free agent, unsure what the future held but motivated to continue his career. He said his agent was in contact with multiple teams, including Green Bay, but the Packers were the first to call and ask him to work out.
Less than 8½ months removed from knee surgery, Goode healed in a hurry. It was the first time he’d ever dealt with an injury, but everything went as smoothly as he could have hoped.
“I actually started snapping back in March, so it was fairly quick,” Goode said. “I never had pain doing it. Once I started doing that, it was just getting back in the rhythm and it was second nature, like riding a bike.”
So was walking back into the Packers’ locker room. He quickly re-connected with kicker Mason Crosby and started getting to know new punter/holder Jake Schum right away.
There’s some work to do to get ready for Sunday’s season opener in Jacksonville, but there’s little to adjust to for Goode other than Schum. It also won’t be the first time he’s getting ready for a season on short notice.
Back in 2008, the call from the Packers came after the final preseason game, when J.J. Jansen was suddenly lost for the season to an ACL injury. Goode stepped in seamlessly then and never gave up the job until he tore his own ACL.
He’ll still be wearing No. 61, and he’s back in his same locker, right at the main entrance across the opening from Aaron Rodgers’.
“It feels like I was just here yesterday,” he said. “It really doesn’t feel like I left for so long.”
In football terms, it wasn’t long at all. He only missed four games, Weeks 16-17 and two playoff contests last year.
The possibility of coming back to Green Bay never left his mind, but he knew nothing was guaranteed, either.
“You always hope for it,” he said. “The familiarity, the friendships that become family. You always hope you can go back to that place.”
Hodkiewicz: Taylor ready to capitalize on starting opportunity
Spofford: Taylor to start at left guard for Packers in Jacksonville