GREEN BAY — The first time Brett Goode received a phone call from the Green Bay Packers, in the summer of 2008, he was pouring concrete for a driveway in his home state of Arkansas. He flew to Wisconsin, performed well and won the long snapper job, a post he retained for the next eight years.
The second time Goode received a phone call from the Packers, in September of 2016, he was sitting on the couch in his mother's house watching coverage of Hurricane Hermine. He flew to Wisconsin, passed a physical and reclaimed the job he never wanted to leave.
"It’s very good to be back," Goode said Monday outside his old locker. "It was a long process, but it was fun because just as a competitor you’re always hoping you’re going to get signed somewhere and have an opportunity to work out. That’s what pushed me just to work hard."
After deciding not to include a long snapper on his initial 53-man roster, general manager Ted Thompson filled the vacancy with a familiar face. The Packers officially announced the signing of Goode on Monday morning, less than nine months after he tore his ACL against the Oakland Raiders last season.
Prior to the injury Goode had played in 137 consecutive games in the regular season and playoffs for the Packers.
"It’s great to have Brett back," coach Mike McCarthy said during a press conference. "Obviously, with his experience and just really coming back off the injury was always the focus for him."
Goode takes the place of Rick Lovato who, despite a decent exhibition season, was released by the Packers during the cutdown to the 53-man roster. Lovato took the job on an emergency basis after Goode was placed on injured reserve. He performed fairly well under the circumstances and did not make any blunders. But in the end, by the time he was released Saturday, he held the job for far less than one year.
"I think Rick really did a nice job throughout the preseason," McCarthy said. "His grades and his performance improved each and every week. But our history with Brett is the way we turned in this particular decision. So it’s great to have him back in the building."
In signing Goode, who at 31 years old is among the five eldest players on the team, the Packers recoup a level of familiarity and comfort with their special teams units. Had they chosen to stick with Lovato, an undrafted free agent from Old Dominion, coordinator Ron Zook would have entered the season with only one holdover from the start of 2015 — kicker Mason Crosby.
Punter Tim Masthay, the third member of the specialist triumvirate, was released prior to the final exhibition game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Part of Goode's acclimation process will be dedicated to building chemistry with new punter and holder Jacob Schum.
"Jake and I have had some conversations today and we just look forward to working with each other," Goode said. "I’m ready to get out there. ... It feels like I was just here yesterday. It really doesn’t feel like I left for so long."
To sign Goode the Packers needed to create a roster spot after submitting a full list of 53 players Sunday afternoon. And rather than cut someone, Thompson decided to move cornerback Makinton Dorleant to injured reserve. Dorleant, an undrafted free agent, suffered a hamstring injury during training camp that sidelined him for the final two exhibition games.
He did not express long-term concern about the injury during an interview with the Journal Sentinel on Saturday night.
Likewise, Goode is not concerned about his knee after spending the better part of a year in rehab, first in Green Bay and then in his native Arkansas. He's been snapping footballs since March, and the process came back to him quickly, like "riding a bike," he said.
And while the Packers are the only team he worked out for and visited, Goode said he has felt ready for quite some time.
"My motivation working out was trying to get back," Goode said, "but if I just took it lightly and didn’t really rehab and never played again, I would still have a hard time playing with my son. I wanted to be able to do stuff like that. And obviously to play football again."