We learned, today, that Ryan Longwell will retire as a member of the Green Bay Packers. Players sometimes will sign a symbolic one-day contract with the team that they started with and so that they can finish up where the started. Longwell spent his first nine NFL seasons with the Packers before joining the Minnesota Vikings for his final six.
Longwell holds many Packers records that still stand today. The most notable is most points scored in Packers history, with 1,054. While Longwell’s former teammate and former Packers quarterback Brett Favre was known for his consecutive games played streak, it is Longwell who holds the record for most consecutive games with a score, at 144. Favre recently began to hint that he was getting closer to a return, of some sort, to the Packers and Longwell has decided to do the same.
While this is a “feel good” story and it’s always good to see a former standout member of the Packers return home to Green Bay, I have to wonder if the Packers feel the same way? Not because there was any real bad blood between the team and Longwell. Well, OK, there were a few interviews in support of Favre when he joined the Vikings in 2009. I have always believed that kickers should never speak to the media and after those episodes, I really believe that. And there was also the time he said that Applebee’s was “as good as it got” in Green Bay as far as restaurants, but I digress. Is there an opportunity knocking (or kicking) here?
The state of the place kicking position in Green Bay has been shaky, at best, for the past year. After a superb 2011 season, Packers kicker Mason Crosby has hit a wall, a brick wall, and can’t seem to shake what is ailing his kicking ability. He posted the lowest conversion of any kicker last season and even caused Packers head coach Mike McCarthy to take more chances on fourth down instead of trying a reasonable field goal attempt.