As Packers' long-snapping carousel turns, Brett Goode waits for a call

Long-snapper Brett Goode tore his ACL in December and became a free agent in March. Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Brett Goode is waiting for a call. And while the former Green Bay Packers long-snapper would love for that call to come from the familiar 920 area code of northeastern Wisconsin, it’s not as if he’ll be sending the NFL’s other 31 teams straight to his voicemail.

“I just want to play,” Goode said Wednesday afternoon in a phone interview from his home in Arkansas. “I would love to play in Green Bay again -- obviously there’s familiarity there, I know the guys there. But I’m also not going to turn away another team in hopes that Green Bay is going to call. I feel like I can still play and play at a high level.”

Given the turn of events over the past 48 hours -- the Packers signing rookie free-agent long-snapper Jesse Schmitt Tuesday, and Schmitt breaking his right hand at practice Tuesday night -- it’ll be interesting to see if Packers general manager Ted Thompson does indeed pick up the phone.

Goode suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee on the Packers’ first punt in a Dec. 20 victory at Oakland and finished the game. He underwent reconstructive surgery a week later and was rehabbing at Lambeau Field until hitting the free-agent market in March and returning home. He said Wednesday he is back to full health and a number of teams have expressed an interest in him to his agent, Kevin Gold.

The Packers could be simply giving Goode even more time to heal, since it’s unusual for teams to clear a player less than eight months removed from ACL surgery.

“I feel that I’m ready to go. We’ve actually been in contact with quite a few teams,” Goode said. “All the communication has been good with other teams, and I’ve been told I’m at the top of a lot of teams’ lists. It’s just playing the waiting game.”

After his injury, the Packers replaced Goode with Rick Lovato, a free agent from Old Dominion who was making sandwiches in a New Jersey sub shop owned by his father and uncle when the Packers called. Lovato, who signed a two-year deal, handled the snapping duties for the final two regular-season games and both playoff contests.

Lovato opened camp as the lone long-snapper on the Packers roster, but the team decided to bring in competition for him on Tuesday by adding Schmitt. Schmitt then left practice after just two snaps Tuesday night, and he was wearing a cast as he watched practice on Wednesday. He confirmed afterward that he’d suffered a broken right hand.

“My first rep. I’m [trying to] block, and I must have hit it wrong,” Schmitt explained. “After the rep was over, it hurt. I tried to do the next one, and the snap didn’t go very well. So that was kind of that.”

Should the team want to bring in more competition for Lovato, Goode has plenty of allies in the Packers locker room, from kicker Mason Crosby and punter Tim Masthay, who communicate with Goode almost daily, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who said in an interview with ESPN Wisconsin’s “Wilde & Tausch” that he and Goode became “fast friends” when Goode signed with the team in 2008.

“Him not being here is different,” Rodgers said.

For his part, Goode admitted he was a bit disappointed that the Packers didn’t call him instead of Schmitt -- “I guess there’s a little frustration, but all that does it motivate you a little more to get back,” he said -- and that he’d prefer not to have his Packers career end with the injury.

“There is some redemption there of being able to come back [to Green Bay] and perform at a high level again. But I just want to play,” said Goode, adding that the bright side of being unsigned has been bonus family time with wife Monica and the couple’s 1-year-old son, Jackson. “My wife’s been awesome, and I’ve had an opportunity to do a lot of things a lot of fathers don’t get, being a stay-at-home dad. But I’m ready to get back to playing.

“I don’t think it’ll take long to get back up to speed. You saw back when I came in [in 2008], I came in the week of the first regular-season game. I think the biggest thing, it’s hard to simulate game speed and practice speed when you’re by yourself or with people who aren’t NFL players. So it’ll be fun to get back and do that and compete.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.”