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Jeff Kolpack, Published June 12 2013

Ex-Bison player Veldman ready for next NFL opportunity

FARGO – The first stop in Matt Veldman’s NFL career ended this week when the Jacksonville Jaguars released him. The way he looks at it, there are 31 other potential suitors.

The former North Dakota State standout is on the market for 31 NFL teams, a process that he says could take a few days or last up until training camps open in July. On Wednesday, he was driving back from Jacksonville keeping an adage from Craig Bohl, his head coach at NDSU, in mind.

“That’s the 24-hour rule,” Veldman said, referring to the NDSU stipulation in which players are allowed one day to get over a victory or a loss. “I’m getting over the feel-sorry-for-myself feeling and I’m still in a great position.”

Veldman was signed as a free agent in the spring of 2012 and was showing some impressive signs in training camp. But he tore his ACL in late August and was put on the team’s injured list.

He said the ACL is fully recovered, and he was cleared by the team.

The release comes by a team that has three former NDSU coaches. Former Bison assistant Gus Bradley is the head coach. His defensive coordinator is ex-NDSU head coach Bob Babich. Todd Wash, another former Bison assistant, is the defensive line coach.

“I don’t think that made any difference,” Veldman said. “Coach Bradley is a new coach, and he has so much going on that we never really found time to talk.”

Veldman was presumably released to make room for quarterback Mike Kafka, who was claimed off of waivers from the New England Patriots.

“I just don’t think they saw my skillset fit into their offense,” Veldman said. “I’ve been there one year, and just being around the team the whole year and seeing friends being released, I know a little bit about how the process works. This isn’t likely the end of the road for me. It happens all the time. It’s not like college where you’re pretty much with one team.”

Veldman said one of his best experiences with the team was rooming with former first-round draft choice Justin Blackmon for a year. Veldman had nothing but good things to say about Blackmon and said his suspension for the first four games next season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy will not be a hindrance.

“He’s a great guy and really selfless,” he said. “He realizes he made a mistake, he’ll learn from it and grow from it as a player and a person. I think he’s matured, and I’m looking for him to have a good year.”


Forum reporter Jeff Kolpack can be reached at (701) 241-5546. Kolpack’s NDSU media blog can be found at www.areavoices.com/bisonmedia