Veteran Goode back for Packers long snapper competition with rookie Hart
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Brett Goode had quite an eventful week.
Returning to the Green Bay Packers was only part of it.
Last Monday morning, the veteran long snapper — an unsigned free agent despite spending the past nine seasons with the Packers — was still unemployed when his wife, Monica, went into labor with the couple’s second child.
Shortly after daughter Blakely arrived, Goode was on a plane from his home in Arkansas for a tryout with the New York Jets, one of a number of NFL teams that had called expressing interest in him.
“Like, the baby was born and I left,” Goode said Sunday, following his first practice with the Packers. “My wife is a good wife.”
Goode said he had been monitoring the Packers’ special teams issues — kicker Mason Crosby had missed six of 11 field-goal attempts during the team’s annual Family Night practice on Aug. 5 — and was still hoping for a call from his old team, as he’d received at the end of training camp last year.
Sure enough, the phone rang late in the week and by Saturday, Goode was on his way back to Green Bay, having signed to compete with rookie Derek Hart for his old job.
For now, Goode and Hart will compete for the job. During the Packers’ closed practice Sunday that was devoted to preparations for the team’s Sept. 10 regular-season opener against Seattle, the long snappers both worked with holder Justin Vogel, a rookie punter, and Crosby, who has worked with Goode for virtually his entire NFL career.
“It can go one of two ways. Either you bow down, or you stand up and improve and bring the best out of yourself and keep going,” said Hart, whose snaps were solid during Thursday night’s preseason opener. Crosby made a 39-yard field goal and three extra points in the Packers’ 24-9 win over Philadelphia.
“Competition brings the best out of people, I think. (Goode) did it here for nine, 10 years, so I think any little thing I can pick up from him will be good, too, along the way. We’re just going to keep truckin’ and see what happens.”
Goode took over as the Packers’ long snapper in 2008 after veteran Rob Davis retired after 11 years on the job. Goode handled every special teams snap until suffering a season-ending knee injury in December 2015 in a game at Oakland. He then returned to the team just before last year’s regular-season opener and was the snapper all season. Crosby made 26 of 30 regular-season field goals and sent the Packers to the NFC championship game with a 51-yard game-winning field goal against Dallas, the longest walk-off field goal in NFL postseason history.
The Packers decided to go younger with Hart, but Goode said the Packers had indicated that they might call at the end of camp as they had last year. When Hart struggled and other teams in the league expressed an interest in Goode, the timeline changed.
“I knew I was going to get a call at some point. I didn’t know from whom,” Goode said. “Because of Mason being here and all the other guys that I’ve been here with forever and obviously the coaches — the way everything’s run, you know how training camp’s run, you know the city — it’s like home.”
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