Yesterday, more than a year after playing his last down in the NFL, fullback John Kuhn officially called it a career. Though his time in Green Bay ended when the Packers opted not to re-sign the veteran after the 2015 season, the “scrappy” Kuhn was able to bring his remaining drops of moxie to New Orleans for parts of two additional years. Unable to land a deal to play anywhere in 2018, Kuhn managed to get a contract to return to Green Bay. The only catch: it was a one-day contract.
With the writing on the wall, the run-blocking and touchdown-vulturing fan favorite wanted to return to where he spent the majority of his 12-year career. The one-day contract is a formality. It’s a ceremonial transaction that allows players some semblance of control over how their career—in an industry with very little occupational security—concludes. Kuhn isn’t the only former Packer to return to his old stomping grounds for just one day.
Some return to make amends for leaving in free agency. Some just want to call its quits while wearing green and gold after taking their final snaps elsewhere. No matter their motivation, here are six players in recent history to ink a one-day contract and “retire as a Packer.”
John Kuhn (2019)
As noted above, KUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUHN is the latest former Packer to return to the team under this unique circumstance. Yesterday was his final day of employment with Green Bay, following nine years and a Super Bowl title. For a vast portion of Packer Backers, Kuhn could do no wrong. This gesture just cements the goodwill he has in the hearts of fans.
James Jones (2017)
After being drafted in the third round of the 2007 draft, James Jones spent seven consecutive seasons with the Packers, including a 14-touchdown campaign in 2012. In 2014, the receiver signed a three-year deal with Oakland, but only lasted one season there before the Raiders cut him loose (despite Jones posting a career-high 73 receptions that year). He signed a one-year deal with the Giants the following offseason, but he was cut before the season even started.
One day after New York released Jones, the Pack signed him to a one-year contract, where he and his trademark hoodie posted team-high 50 catches and a career-best 890 yards. Despite the decent 2015 season in his second stint in Green Bay, Jones wasn’t offered another contract. He signed with the Chargers in August of 2016, but was cut four weeks and zero regular season games later. So technically, when Jones announced his retirement as a member of the Packers in September 2017, there was another team in-between.
A.J. Hawk (2017)
Linebacker A.J. Hawk. was drafted by the Packers and spent nine seasons in green and gold. The only professional team he knew cut him loose before the 2015 season, but fortunately, he wound up with the Bengals. Unfortunately, it was a down year and he was released halfway into his two-year contract. In October of 2016, he found his way to Atlanta…for less than a month. After suiting up for one game with the Falcons, he was shown the door. In January of 2017, Hawk announced his retirement. That April, he made it official when he retired as a Packer.
Ryan Longwell (2013)
When Ryan Longwell left the Packers in 2005, it wasn’t in the best of ways. For one, he signed with the rival Minnesota Vikings. And he also made an infamous Applebee’s comment on his way out of town. However, after six seasons in Minnesota and a postseason stint with the Seahawks, Longwell came back to the team with whom he spent his first nine seasons. Longwell might’ve taken a villainous turn with the Vikings, but he retired a Packer in 2013 and everything seems to be smoothed over now. He’s safe to return to Green Bay and eat good in the neighborhood any time.
Al Harris (2013)
We all remember Al Harris for his unforgettable playoff interception that he returned for a game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Seahawks. Not as many people are likely to recall the handful of games Harris played with the Dolphins and Rams in 2010 and 2011 after the Packers waived the injured defensive back. In 2013, more than three years since his last game with Green Bay, Harris informed the team he would like to retire as a Packer, saying “I had a great experience in Philadelphia, great experience in Tampa, and everywhere else I played, but Green Bay is a special place to play football.”
Bill Schroeder (2008)
The pride of Sheboygan and a UW-La Crosse standout, Bill Schroeder lived every Wisconsin kid’s dream when he earned a spot with the Packers in 1997. He posted three pretty solid seasons with the Packers between 1999 and 2001, which led to a contract with the Detroit Lions. He spent two years in the Motor City, followed by a sorry seven-game stint with the Buccaneers in 2004. Though the league made the decision for him years earlier, Schroeder informed Ted Thompson of his desire to officially retire as a member of his hometown team in 2008, formally ending his career where it all began.