Longwell: Give It All You've Got

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In his high school football days, Ryan Longwell accomplished a lot with his foot. As a professional football player, his foot is still scoring a lot of points.

Longwell just completed his eighth season as kicker for Green Bay. He became No. 1 on the team's all-time field goal attempts list earlier this season against Chicago, and finished the season with 250 attempts. His 346 career PATs are also a team record.

"For a kicker to be in one place for eight years, I feel confident in my abilities," he said. "I'm better prepared and want to keep improving. I'm more effective than I ever have been."

Longwell is first on the club's all-time scoring list with 964 career points and ranks first in team history with 206 career field goals.

He stands as the fifth-most accurate field goal specialist in NFL history at 82 percent. Longwell has led the NFL in points scored since he came into the league in 1997.

Longwell played his high school football at Bend, Ore., and earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior. He averaged 44.3 yards per punt as a senior and booted 82 percent of his kickoffs into the end zone. He was also the backup quarterback his senior year.

Longwell grew up watching Seattle's placekicker, Norm Johnson. During his high school years, he decided he would also be a placekicker.

"It was a great high school program. They have a lot of tradition there," he said. "I was the only sophomore on the varsity team. The first field goal I made was 44 yards. That's a long kick for high school. I tried 59 yards and hit the crossbar."

The most valuable lesson Longwell learned from his high school days came off the field.

"The biggest thing my coach (Craig Walker) taught us was that in everything we did, we had to give everything we've got," Longwell said. "It's always been my desire since growing up to play football. People just said (to) keep going and work hard. They told me I could probably get a college scholarship. That was the next thing."

A four-year letterwinner (1993-96) at the University of California as both the punter and placekicker during his final three seasons in Berkeley, Longwell finished his career as the school's eighth-leading scorer with 177 total points.

"Once I got to Berkeley, the focus was to get better. I had a good year when Steve Mariucci was there as coach," Longwell said, referring to the current Detroit Lions coach. "He said I had a legitimate shot to make it in the NFL, so I went after it."

Longwell offers important advice to high school players today who think they have a chance at an NFL future.

"If it's a dream, give it everything you've got," he said.

Longwell keeps in contact with his former high school, too.

"I talk to the coaches and work out when I can," he said. "I help their players out and show them what's important to work on. Listening to a guy who has been at the higher level gives what you say more credibility."

He was a three-time letterman in baseball as a third baseman, earning all-conference honors as a junior and senior.

Longwell likes speaking to school groups and other organizations -- in particular Wisconsin church and youth groups -- about the benefits of having a positive outlook and attitude. He and his wife, Sarah, serve as honorary chairpersons for Cerebral Palsy, Inc., in Green Bay.

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