“I’m done,” Longwell said Tuesday when he returned to Green Bay to retire as a member of the Packers. “I’m done kicking.”
But that doesn’t mean he won’t help the team he played for from 1997-2005 with their kicking situation. Longwell stuck around long enough after his retirement news conference to watch practice and talk with veteran kicker Mason Crosby and his challenger for the job, Giorgio Tavecchio.
Longwell has connections to both kickers. He befriended Crosby after he left Green Bay and signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2006. The two have kept in regular contact, and Longwell has been a public supporter of Crosby even throughout Crosby’s struggles last season, when he made a league-worst 63.6 percent of his field goals. Meanwhile, Longwell and Tavecchio share the same alma mater, the University of California.
“I’ve been fortunate to be able to talk to Ryan throughout my career and obviously followed him before I got here,” Crosby said. “It’s awesome today that he got to retire as a Packer. … I pick his brain sometimes on different things, but at the same time today was really awesome for him.”
When asked if he had any advice for Crosby, Longwell said: “I think as long as his rhythm is fine, he’s one of the best in the league.”
Longwell saw the Packers’ kickers at their best. Both went 8-for-8 in practice, converting field goals of 33, 34, 39, 43, 45, 48, 50 and 54 yards. Crosby got off to a horrible start in camp, missing five of eight field goals during the Family Night scrimmage but has gone 15-for-16 the past two days in practice and is 30-of-39 this summer. Tavecchio went 16-for-16 the past two days to improve to 35-of-39.
Crosby’s problems have been described as mental, and Longwell agreed.
“Kicking is, I’ve always said, 10 percent physical and 90 percent mental,” Longwell said. “I think the good Lord gave me an above average ability to swing my right leg and a really, really strong mind and faith. That’s what it takes to kick in this league. I think [Crosby and Tavecchio] need live kicks, and they need the live situation. As long as they both have the right mindset, I see it working out the way it should.”
Here were some other developments from Tuesday’s practice:
Rookie receiver Kevin Dorsey practiced for the first time since July 27, when he dropped out because of a hamstring injury. It was the first time in full pads for the seventh-round pick from Maryland, but he did not take any snaps during team (11-on-11) periods. Dorsey also missed most of the offseason workouts because of injuries and is facing an uphill battle to make the team. “There’s a lot of football left,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “We have three [preseason] games left. There have been no decisions that have been made this week. We tell our players all the time your most important ability is availability. It’s something we need to do a better job [of as] a football team. I’m just glad to see him back out there.”
Medical report: Cornerback Casey Hayward, who led all NFL rookies last season with six interceptions, will miss at least another week of training camp. Hayward remains on the physically unable to perform list because of the hamstring injury he sustained while working out prior to camp.
“Casey Hayward’s injury is going to take time,” McCarthy said. “Communication from Casey and the medical staff is he’s made a lot of progress in the last five or six days. As far as a timeline, I think we’ll have a better understanding next week how close he is.”
Others who missed practice were WR Charles Johnson (knee), S Sean Richardson (neck), CB Tramon Williams (knee), G T.J. Lang (back), OL JC Tretter (ankle), T Bryan Bulaga (knee), T Andrew Datko (concussion), T Derek Sherrod (leg), TE Andrew Quarless (quad), TE Ryan Taylor (knee), WR Jordy Nelson (knee), DE Datone Jones (ankle) and DE Jerel Worthy (knee).
What’s next: Wednesday’s practice is at 11:15 a.m. CT.