GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading scorer is coming home. And no, his press conference won’t be at Applebee’s on Oneida Street.
Kicker Ryan Longwell, who scored 1,054 points during his nine-year career from 1997 through 2005 in Green Bay, has informed the team of his decision to retire with the Packers, general manager Ted Thompson announced Monday.
Longwell left the Packers following the 2005 season as a free agent, signing with the archrival Minnesota Vikings. He spent six years with the Vikings (2006 through 2011) and joined the Seattle Seahawks during the playoffs last year after Steven Hauschka was placed on injured reserve.
When he arrived in Minnesota, Longwell offended a few folks in Green Bay by telling Twin Cities reporters, “Every town in America has an Applebee's restaurant. In Green Bay, Applebee's was about as fancy as you got. When my wife, Sarah, and I would get a baby sitter, a nice date night was Applebee's. In Minnesota, I'm sure there will be plenty of options before Applebee's comes into the rotation."
Locals took that as a slap at the local cuisine, but truth be told, the dining options weren’t exactly robust when Longwell was here. Of course, after what now-Vikings wide receiver Greg Jennings has said the past few months, the Applebee’s crack seems awfully tame.
Longwell holds franchise records for most field goals (226), best field-goal percentage (81.6, 226/277), seasons leading the team in field goals (nine), extra points (376), 100-point seasons (eight) and consecutive games scoring (144).
The University of California product entered the NFL in 1997 as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers, but was waived by the 49ers on July 9 that year and was claimed off waivers the next day by the Packers. The move ended up being historic, as rookie third-round pick Brett Conway kicked poorly, then suffered a quadriceps injury while overkicking and Longwell took over as the defending Super Bowl champions’ kicker. Although he missed a potential game-winner in his second NFL regular-season game at Philadelphia, he made 24 of 30 attempts that season and beat Conway out again in 1998 to keep the job.
Longwell, who ranks No. 13 on the NFL’s all-time scoring list with 1,687 career points, will meet with reporters on Wednesday in Green Bay.
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