Jamon Meredith's return to Green Bay didn't last long.
Just one game, a handful of practices, and the Packers backup tackle was gone. Green Bay released Meredith on Saturday while signing tight end Justin Perillo to the active roster from the practice squad. Perillo will fill the injured Brandon Bostick's place on the roster, which means he's mostly a special teams replacement.
It's a tough blow for Meredith, a fifth-round pick by the Packers in 2009. After bouncing around the league the past few years, Meredith finally got a chance to join the Packers' 53-man roster last week.
No, the cup of coffee didn't last long. But before he was released, Meredith discussed the experience of his first game at Lambeau Field and what he's learned from his various stops around the NFL in this week's Q&A with Press-Gazette Media.
You finally got your first game with the Packers at Lambeau Field, and it happened to be a blowout against the Chicago Bears. What was that experience like?
Meredith: Cold. (laughs) Man, it was good to see those guys whooping up on the Bears, man. That was impressive. It kind of takes the stress and anxiety of playing a fourth-quarter game right out of the picture.
How's it feel to be back in Green Bay?
Meredith: I like it, man. It feels good, man. I wish I would've been here the whole time, but sometimes — especially in this business — you can't choose where you go. It was a smooth transition. Luckily, I've seen some familiar faces. I've seen a lot of new faces, but I've seen a lot of familiar faces, too. So that's always good.
What is it about Green Bay you liked so much?
Meredith: I always just liked the atmosphere. It feels like a family environment. Everybody gets along, everybody helps each other out. Everybody embraces the new guy. It's a good place to be, man. It's good all-around.
How have the other guys in the locker room embraced you since you returned?
Meredith: They embraced me really good, man. I came in with T.J., so it was good to see him. All the other guys, it was just like I'm one of the guys. Just talking to everybody, we all get along. It's a good group, man.
How do you think you fit into the offensive line?
Meredith: They were a little banged up at tackle. I know I've been playing guard a lot, but I think I'm a natural tackle. If I can provide depth at the tackle position, I think I can help this team. Also, you know, if we get in a jam down the line and something happens, I could always be able to play guard, too, as well.
Are you playing tackle exclusively?
Meredith: I'm not exclusively. I'm playing wherever they need me to play. I'm not just going to limit myself to just tackle, but wherever my coach asks me to play, I'm going to step in and play to the best of my ability.
What kind of goals have you set here?
Meredith: Just be ready when my number is called. Always be ready and just keep — God forbid something happened to somebody — I want to be able to step in right away. I want to add depth to the offensive line. I want to be able to mentor some of the younger guys, you know. It's crazy, but I'm technically one of the older guys six years in. I just want to play my role, man. Whatever my role is, I just want to do it to the best of my ability.
You say it's "crazy" you're one of the older guys. Hard to believe that's the case?
Meredith: Yeah, a little bit, because I don't feel old. You know, my body is good. God blessed me with a healthy career, no injuries. I feel great. I feel like I'm still 22 or 23, but I have a wife and child now. I have a whole different lifestyle than when I first came here fresh out of college. My life has changed, and I just want to be able to be there to mentor to the young guys, even if it's not about football. Maybe if it's about being a husband, if they want somebody to look up to in their Christian faith. Anything I can do to make this group better, I want to do that.
What have your experiences at Buffalo, Tampa — being at several organizations — taught you?
Meredith: Everybody's different, you know. Everybody does things differently, you know. The atmosphere in different places is different. Everybody has the same goal, everybody wants to win the Super Bowl, but there's just different strategies to get there. I've been different places, and I will say this: I'm used to different weathers, man. I've had the beautiful Tampa weather, I've had the freezing, snowy Buffalo weather. I'm pretty versatile as far as the weather goes, and just pretty well traveled, man.
How do you like being back to that Buffalo-type weather in Green Bay?
Meredith: Yeah, I've got to get back to that mindset. You know, wake up a little earlier, warm your car up, make sure you get there early so snow won't be an issue when you come into work.
When your career started with not making the team in Green Bay, did you ever have doubts on whether you'd last in the NFL?
Meredith: No, I never really had doubts because I know I'm a good player. It's just all about being in the right place at the right time. Fortunately, for me in Tampa, I was in the right place at the right time. I got to squeeze 20 starts out of it, trying to help my team the best I could. The other teams I've been on, they've been pretty healthy so there was really no need for me to play. At this point in my career, I'm pretty much a depth guy, a guy that's willing to step in and play many different spots.
What's the challenge of being a depth guy?
Meredith: You just have to prepare like a starter, man. You've got to take mental reps. We don't get as many reps as starters do, but even when we're down on scout team, you've just got to take all those scout team reps and translate it to the stuff that we do. Get mental reps, watch a lot of film and just learn from the starters. Even though some of those guys are younger than me, I still can learn from them because they're good players. It's just all about being ready when your number is called. Just being ready, and a sub won't be a drop off. You want to be able to let your team continue to succeed.
How difficult is it to embrace the backup role when you're preparing like a starter?
Meredith: It's not difficult, man. Because I was a fifth-round pick, so it's a blessing that I'm still in the league anyway. Usually, your higher draft pick guys are the ones that start. But that's not really my concern, because I know God has blessed me a lot, man. He's blessed me with six beautiful years in the league. Sometimes it's not exactly where I planned, but everything happens for a reason. This is God's plan, and I feel like there's a reason why I'm back here. What that reason is, we'll see what it is. I just want to be ready if and when my number is called.
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