Abbrederis wanted to stay in Green Bay

Weston Hodkiewicz
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Green Bay Packers wide receiver Jared Abbrederis gets a pat on the helmet from special teams coach Ron Zook during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field last month.

Jared Abbrederis was almost finished with his Saturday morning round of golf with fellow Green Bay Packers receiver Jeff Janis when his phone rang.

Abbrederis didn't answer it, but had a good idea of what it was pertaining to.

"Honestly, I didn't pick up right away because I wasn't sure," Abbrederis said. "We were about done like one hole left, so I called back at the end.

"Those last couple holes weren't too good," he added, laughing.

Abbrederis' release came with a silver living. The Packers wanted to bring him back on their 10-man practice squad if he cleared waivers, which he did on Sunday.

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The Wautoma native and former Wisconsin standout hoped for the best on cut-down day, but also was realistic. Abbrederis missed a month after sustaining a concussion midway through the first practice of training camp on July 30. He didn't return until the practice before the preseason finale against New Orleans.

The Packers gave him a long look against the Saints at both receiver and punt returner. He played 62 offensive snaps, catching one pass for six yards. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound receiver said he didn't entertain any other practice-squad offers after getting his release from Green Bay.

"This is where I wanted to be all along," Abbrederis said. "So when they said they wanted me back right away I was excited to come back and take advantage of the opportunity."

Abbrederis made the decision early on that he wanted to stay with the team that drafted him in the fifth round of the 2014 NFL draft. He cheered for the Packers growing up. Plus, the team stood by him through his torn anterior cruciate ligament during his rookie season and the concussion that kept him out of this year's camp.

He'll make $6,600 per week on the practice squad, roughly a quarter of what second-year players on the main roster are making, but the opportunity to get back into a normal routine is invaluable. Receivers coach Alex Van Pelt could see the rust Abbrederis built up by not playing in a game for almost two years against the Saint.

He also could see his potential.

"It's good to see him back out there," Van Pelt said. "Having him back on practice roster, we're excited for that opportunity. For him to continue to grow. He's had a couple seasons now where he's been dealt a bad hand with the concussion and the ACL, so now this will give him time to develop and to come on this year with the ability to come into camp and compete next year for a spot."

Abbrederis joked this week that he couldn't remember the last time he practiced on back-to-back days. It actually came July 30 and 31, 2014, before he unknowingly tore his ACL. After spending all of last season rehabbing, he's grateful for the opportunity to actually stay on the field in his new capacity.

"That's big," Abbrederis said. "Obviously last year I had the mental side of it with getting all the plays and things like that. This year being on the field, it obviously helps out a lot. Just getting back out there and kind of using some of the things I learned last year and trying to put them to good work out here on the practice field this year."

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Abbrederis's collegiate career started with humble beginnings as a walk-on. When he finally was on the verge of getting a scholarship in 2011, Wisconsin needed it to secure transferring quarterback Russell Wilson.

Abbrederis can see the parallels to his current situation. There are similarities. Right now, his job is to take advantage of whatever opportunities are thrown his way, get back into shape and improve his route-running.

Meanwhile, he patiently waits for a phone call back to the active roster.

"I've had a couple obstacles now, so we'll just keep overcoming them," Abbrederis said. "I'm excited about the opportunity to be back here."

— and follow him on Twitter @WesHod.

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