Jared Veldheer is the Oakland Raiders left tackle and was drafted in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Hillsdale College. He actually was born and raised in the same city as me, Grand Rapids, MI. He missed much of the 2013 season as he was placed on injured reserve early in the pre season and Raider Nation definitely missed him on the field as the offensive line struggled in his absence.
Veldheer has been coming up in the news a lot recently because he could make it to free agency during this offseason if the Raiders don’t re-sign him. He has talked a little bit with media in recent weeks to voice his desire to stay with the Raiders and has been trying to stay patient, but he wishes that his team would show more urgency to keep him on the roster. After seeing the offensive line struggles during the regular season and knowing that the Raiders finally have a decent chunk of cap space available, it’s a surprise that the Raiders haven’t re-signed Veldheer already.
Raider Nation has affectionately dubbed Veldheer “The Hulk” after his trainer tweeted a photo of him at the gym with other training buddies. It was definitely nice for the fan base to see Veldheer getting to work to keep in shape for the season. The photo was taken at PowerStrength Training Systems back in his home town in Michigan. It’s a gym that he owns alongside with Mark Ehnis, the one who tweeted the photo of Veldheer looking like the Hulk next to everyone else. Ehnis and Veldheer have been friends as well as teammates since the fourth grade and both had struggled to get results from regular health clubs or on their own, which is how PowerStrength Training Systems was born. They wanted it to become the only place in West Michigan that caters to the needs of serious athletes.
— Jared Veldheer (@Veldheer68) March 29, 2013
Veldheer has a lot of pride for his hometown and community. It especially shows in the way he supports other local businesses like Amway by talking about the supplements he gets from them. He gets active around the community running youth football camps. Proceeds from these camps go to benefit athlete heart screenings. He has guest bartended at a local bar to help raise money for a scholarship fund that was set up in memory of Central Michigan University football player Kemp Luchie. They’ve also hosted workouts at PowerStrength to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. In his spare time, Veldheer enjoys home brewing and it seems as though he is somewhat of a homebrew MacGuyver as evidenced by some of the pictures of his set ups that he’s posted.
Raider Nation will like hearing how much Veldheer enjoys interacting with the Raiders’ fan base. It was daunting to him at first, but now feels that it’s awesome. He said, “I always thought it would be kind of tough and I don’t want to say something I shouldn’t. I finally just got on it and started interacting with the fans and it’s really not that tough. It’s easier than I thought it would be and the fans seem to like it and I like interacting with them.” It’s always fun when players take the time to actually touch base with their fans.
The Raiders definitely need to work out re-signing Veldheer and not allow him to get to free agency. A tackle like Veldheer would be picked up quickly if he doesn’t re-sign with the Raiders. Hopefully, his contract is one of the first things that Reggie McKenzie will work on in this all important offseason that the Raiders are entering.