KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jake Schum arrived in Green Bay at 2 a.m. on Wednesday ready to start a new chapter in his football career with the Packers.
Well, at least after he got some sleep.
The 27-year-old punter had a short turnaround but participated in the Packers’ final walkthrough before the team flew to Kansas City for its preseason finale.
It was a good tune-up for Thursday night’s game at Arrowhead Stadium, where Schum booted a career-high eight punts in a 17-7 loss to the Chiefs, averaging 45.5 yards per attempt and 41.3 net.
Three of Schum’s punts were landed inside the 10-yard line, while the only attempt that went for a touchback – a 57-yard effort in the first quarter – bounced softly twice near the goal line but rolled into the end zone without a gunner to corral it.
It made for a rather impressive debut given the circumstances.
“I have expectations for myself. That’s kind of how you have to treat it,” said Schum, who was claimed off waivers from Tampa Bay on Tuesday. “You’re going against yourself so I expect myself to do well and perform. That’s why I was brought in was to do my job. I felt like I did my job tonight.”
The Packers released both veteran Tim Masthay and undrafted rookie Peter Mortell earlier this week in an effort to improve their punting with the regular season quickly approaching.
Midnight arrivals are nothing new to Schum, who’s ping-ponged around the country over the past five years in hopes of finding a permanent NFL home.
A 2011 graduate of the University at Buffalo, Schum spent all of 2012 out of the game before Cleveland signed him in March 2013 after seeing him at a regional combine.
Waived two months later, Schum sat out the rest of 2013 and stayed patient amidst a turbulent 2014 campaign in which he had two separate stints with both Tampa Bay and the New York Jets.
The third time proved to be the charm with the Buccaneers, who signed him with a week left in training camp last year.
Schum won the job and punted for them in all 16 regular-season games last year (56 punts, 41.9 yards per punt, 38.0 net and 15 punts inside the 20).
He held the position until earlier this week when he was released in favor of former Jacksonville punter Bryan Anger, though Schum’s disappointment turned to jubilation when he was informed the Packers claimed him off waivers.
“That’s the nature of the business,” Schum said. “You never know who’s going to be watching out in the stands or on film or anything. I felt it happened the way it was supposed to. I was brought here for a reason and I’m really looking forward to proving it was a good choice.”
Without much time to absorb his new surroundings, Schum had a cram sessions with Crosby and long-snapper Rick Lovato in practice Wednesday and during Thursday’s pregame warmups.
In addition to punting on his own, Schum took eight punts during a special-teams period in the final walkthrough and got used to holding for Crosby.
That wasn’t too big of a learning curve for Schum, who already had experience holding for field goals with the Buccaneers.
The operation was flawless on the point after attempt on the Packers’ only touchdown against the Chiefs.
Meanwhile, Kansas City’s punt returners combined for only 14 return yards on four attempts.
After the game, Packers Head Coach Mike McCarthy voiced approval for Schum’s first night on the job, crediting him for his ball placement outside the numbers.
Right now, Schum fully intends to be the Packers’ punter when they travel to Jacksonville for their regular-season opener on Sept. 11.
“They just brought me in and kind of expected me to do what they’ve seen from me,” Schum said. “I felt really comfortable with doing what I know how to do and just wanted to really perform, and I thought it went really well tonight.”
Schum has logged a lot of air miles over the past five years in hopes of securing a job in the NFL.
Maybe now he can sleep soundly in one place.
“I’m just ready for anything,” said Schum with a smile. “Hopefully I’ll be here for a while and enough of this bouncing around stuff. Just have to do what I do. I’m expected to perform and I expect to perform myself.”
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