Longwell: If Favre's ankle heals, he'll play

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 9, 2010 - 12:04 AM

According to the Vikings kicker, the QB is trying to get into football shape without damaging the ankle.

Brett Favre

Photo: Rogelio V. Solis, Associated Press

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It's been the pattern in the local and national media to give play-by-play almost daily of Brett Favre's latest thoughts on whether he will or won't play football this season.

So here is the latest chapter in the Favre situation. The source is the quarterback's longtime friend and teammate on the Packers and Vikings, kicker Ryan Longwell, who had a long conversation with Favre on Saturday.

Favre told Longwell he was working out in the heat in Hattiesburg, Miss., trying to get in shape. But at the same time, he was testing his surgically repaired left ankle and said it is giving him some trouble.

But Longwell said Favre still hasn't made a decision one way or the other on playing football this season. Everything hinges on the condition of the ankle.

Did Favre give Longwell any hint about what the quarterback is thinking about playing this season?

"I guess the thing is, from talking to him, the big issue is everybody knows he had the surgery on his shoulder last year and that was kind of three weeks out and he was zinging the ball around with little or no pain," Longwell said. "So he's had bad ankles over the years, and everybody knows that. He thought that the ankle would recover, kind of like the arm did last year, and unfortunately it just hasn't."

Longwell said he's learned, in talking to other football players who have had ankle problems similar to Favre's, that the ankle might be extremely painful at Week 7, and all of a sudden he might wake up in Week 8 and it feels great.

"It could go longer than that, it can be shorter than that, but it's one of those things where one week it's bad, the next week it's good," Longwell said. "So that's why he's trying to get himself in shape without doing any damage to it."

Kicking situation

Now that the Vikings have signed kickoff man Rhys Lloyd, Longwell -- who has done kickoffs and field-goal attempts for the team for the past four seasons -- said he doesn't have any idea what his duties will be this year.

"I have no idea. That's obviously coach [Brad] Childress has the final say over the 53-man roster, so that's something that he has to weigh, the pros and cons of doing that," Longwell said. "We have split reps evenly. We've both kicked off with the No.1 kickoff team, and we've both split reps for field goals.

"If I had a crystal ball I'd tell you the answer, but unfortunately in this day and age in the league you just don't know."

Longwell said he has kicked the ball well in training camp.

"So you go every day and you hit the ball well," Longwell said. "I've had a good first week of camp. I feel really good with how my leg feels and how the ball is jumping off my foot."

Longwell said he, long snapper Cullen Loeffler and holder Chris Kluwe are in rhythm on field-goal attempts.

"So you just kind of take it a day at a time," Longwell said. "I've been fortunate to do this, this is my 14th year. So you just kind of take it with a grain of salt and realize [kicking opportunities are] a little bit out of your hands, but it's worked out for me for 13 years so to think it won't work out again, I'm not going to say that."

Jottings

• Ex-Gophers quarterback Marc Trestman might be headed for another Grey Cup as head coach of the Montreal Alouettes, who have a 5-1 record after losing their season opener by three points. In the past year, Trestman has turned down at least one head coaching job in the NFL and more than one college head coaching position. He says he is very happy with the Alouettes.

• As Gophers offensive coordinator in 2009, Jedd Fisch thought Nick Tow-Arnett was one of the best tight ends in the Big Ten. So when Seattle was looking for a tight end, Fisch -- now quarterbacks coach for the Seahawks -- recommended Tow-Arnett to head coach Pete Carroll, and he joined the team this week.

• At the 2010 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., incoming Gophers winger Nick Bjugstad is the second-leading scorer with eight points in seven games and a team-high seven goals. Also, the Gophers' Zach Budish had two goals and one assist in six games. Warroad native Brock Nelson, South St. Paul's Justin Faulk and Duluth's Derek Forbort have five points each.

• Terry Ryan and Rob Antony of the Twins headed for Class AAA Rochester on Sunday, where they will spend a week scouting the team and deciding what players can help the big club and be recalled in September when the rosters grow. ... Incidentally, the Twins took infielder Brendan Harris, who is now at Rochester, off the 40-man protected roster. However, Harris cleared waivers when he was sent down.

• Twins General Manager Bill Smith is excited about the Friday signing of No. 1 draft choice Alex Wimmers of Ohio State. "Well, Wimmers was the [conference] pitcher of the year at Ohio State," Smith said. "He's the Big Ten pitcher of the year, I think, a couple of years in a row. He's a guy that fits in very well with our organization. He throws strikes. He's got very good control. He's a pitcher that might have a chance to move quickly in our organization."

• Former Vikings center Matt Birk is recovered after having offseason elbow surgery and is taking part in Baltimore Ravens training camp. Birk started all 16 games for the Ravens last season and has played in 64 consecutive games after missing the 2005 season when with the Vikings because of a hip injury.

• Ex-Gopher Dominique Barber is entering his third season with Houston and figures to be a backup to starting safety Eugene Wilson. Barber had 33 tackles last season after only five his rookie year. ... Ex-Gopher Ben Hamilton is entering his 10th season, the first with Seattle after being with Denver for nine, and will be the Seahawks' starting left guard. ... Another ex-Gophers offensive lineman, Mark Setterstrom, continues to have bad luck with the Rams after suffering a torn triceps muscle during organized team activities. The guard/center is on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list.

Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on WCCO AM-830 at 6:40, 7:40 and 8:40 a.m. • shartman@startribune.com

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