GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Jared Veldheer had spent nine seasons in the National Football League coming into 2019 before he signed with the New England Patriots. Only about a week later, he was done.
The Grand Rapids native was drafted in 2010 by the Oakland Raiders and stayed with them for the first four campaigns of his professional tenure.
Then in March 2014, the Forest Hills Northern and Hillsdale College graduate decided to sign a five-year, $35 million contract with the Arizona Cardinals. Two years into the contract, his playing career would never be the same. In Week 8 of 2016, he tore his right triceps, putting him on the injured reserved list for the remainder of the year.
In 2017, things seemed to be looking up. He started the first 13 games for the Cardinals and established himself as the go-to right tackle once again. However, on Dec. 11, 2017, Veldheer was back on the injured reserve with an ankle injury.
On March 23, 2018, Veldheer was traded to the Denver Broncos, where he started 12 games at right tackle and missed four games with a knee injury. That led to his decision to join the Patriots for a one-year deal on May 13, 2019.
Just eight days later, Veldheer decided it was time to go into retirement.
“I’ve tried to treat (injuries) as much as possible, but it’s just to the point now to me where the decision to keep playing with it isn’t in line with what I would like to do long term,” Veldheer said. “Time to step away and look forward to what is next.”
Asked for the most memorable moments of his time with the Raiders, Cardinals and Broncos, he picked out two:
“My first overtime game against the Chiefs in Oakland and the divisional playoff win against the Packers when I was in Arizona,” Veldheer said. “They were both memorable for sure.”
Veldheer doesn’t know exactly what is next for him. But right now, he’s giving back to his hometown.
He was at Grand Rapids Christian High School Wednesday for a youth football camp backed by Metro Health. Children arrived eager to learn from the veteran offensive lineman.
“Control what is in front of you and what you can control,” Veldheer said. “It’s always fun to get (kids) together for one night and have fun playing football.”
Veldheer plans to do more with the future of the game and instructing the younger generation on how to play.
But for now, he is happy to be back home in Grand Rapids and spend more time with his family.
“I can settle in and not have to worry about leaving (Grand Rapids) and going to another city,” Veldheer said. “It feels good to root back down with the family.”