GREEN BAY – It had been a quiet spring and summer for long snapper Brett Goode.
Then the second week of August arrived.
Last Monday, Goode’s wife gave birth to their second child, daughter Blakely, back home in Fort Smith, Ark. A free agent since the end of the 2016 season, Goode then immediately hopped on a plane for a scheduled workout with the Jets.
“My wife is a good wife,” Goode said.
He left New York without a contract but then got a call from the Packers a couple of days later. So he said goodbye to his wife and newborn again and flew to Green Bay on Saturday.
Goode is in Green Bay to stay, for now, after signing with the Packers to compete for the job he’s held for the last nine seasons. He practiced with the Packers on Sunday during a closed workout and quickly got reacquainted with old teammates and tried to get to know some new ones.
To say the least, it’s been an eventful week, but Goode has no doubts he’ll settle in quickly in a place that feels “like home.”
“I was talking to my wife, and it’s funny, we didn’t hear anything all spring, and then right before she goes into labor, we got a bunch of calls,” Goode said.
“You just have to stay in shape. It’s the same thing I went through back in ’07, ’08, and you get used to that, especially at this position.”
This is a new scenario for Goode, though. Released twice by the Jaguars upon entering the NFL, he originally came to the Packers on the eve of the 2008 regular season, when J.J. Jansen blew out his knee in the final preseason game.
Goode held the job without incident until December of 2015, when he tore an ACL in his knee and Rick Lovato was signed to replace him. Lovato then finished out that season and was in training camp last year before the Packers brought Goode back at the final roster reduction, releasing Lovato.
This time, Goode will be in direct competition with Derek Hart, an undrafted rookie from James Madison. Hart had a shaky Family Night, smoothed things out in the preseason opener on Thursday, and now will have to beat out a seasoned veteran in order to stick with the Packers.
“The first game went well, confidence is way up now,” Hart said. “I’m maybe a little more relaxed than I was previously.”
He insisted that won’t change due to Goode’s presence.
“Competition will pull out the best in people, in my opinion, so I welcome it,” Hart said. “I’m not scared. I think it’s a great opportunity, and I’m still thankful to be here.”
Goode is thankful for another shot as well. There were “no burned bridges” when the Packers didn’t re-sign him after last season, and through conversations with his agent, he sensed a lot of teams were trying to go young at long snapper this year.
But he remained confident his career wasn’t over. He snapped two times per week, either with his brother or alone with a goalpost as a target, continuing the same offseason routine he’s had for a decade.
“I just tried to stay ready, and whatever happens, happens,” he said.
Having needed just a week last year to get things in good order with punter/holder Jake Schum, Goode has no concerns about making it work in short order with rookie Justin Vogel.
As for the competition with Hart, both snappers could be kept throughout the preseason with no preliminary roster cut to 75 anymore. Even at the cut to 53, Goode knows the “winner” won’t have any more job security than either has now, and that understanding is one reason Goode has been successful for so long.
“Once the regular season hits, I think you’re still competing every week,” he said. “This is a business where you’re never guaranteed anything.”
Last year, while recovering from ACL surgery, he got to spend extra time with his now 2-year-old son. This year, he was home for the birth of his daughter. Uncertain circumstances have had their privileges, but now it’s back to business.
There’s no greater certainty now, other than an opportunity in familiar surroundings.
“Definitely new faces, but (with) the old faces that I know, it feels like you never left,” Goode said. “It’s just great to be back and be around the guys.”