Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell spent nine seasons as a teammate of Brett Favre’s in Green Bay and has been in communication with the quarterback throughout the offseason. In a phone interview today, Longwell said he thinks there is a “50-50″ chance that Favre ends his retirement to play for the Vikings and adds Favre’s concern now is about his body holding up for a 16-game season.
“I really don’t know,” Longwell said when asked to handicap the situation. “My gut says I think he has put in so much running and lifting with the [biceps] surgery and everything now that he would want to come back.”
Favre, who will turn 40 in October, had surgery on the biceps tendon in his throwing arm in late May and has been expected to end his second attempt at retirement to play for the Vikings ever since. Favre recently told the Associated Press that he would have a decision by Thursday — the mandatory reporting date for Vikings players — but of late there seems to be less certainty that he will play in 2009.
Longwell, who is entering his 13th season and joined the Vikings in 2006, feels Favre has to be convinced he can withstand the rigors of a season.
“The way he plays the game is full throttle and that’s the way he wants to be able to play because that’s the way he’s been successful,” Longwell said. “His concern is not the arm or anything anymore it’s that his body at 40-years-old isn’t going to last the whole season playing at that level. Through his workouts and running and throwing and everything over the past month or so the arm he says has felt good. It’s just the body doesn’t recover as quick and I think him, knowing the way he wants to play the game he just doesn’t want anything to hinder that. If the body is going to give out obviously that would hinder the way he played the game. So, I think that’s his concern right now. He just wants to be able to give it a full effort and rightfully so. That’s the way he’s always played.”
Longwell does expect that Favre will have a decision by Thursday. The Vikings open training camp practices on Friday.
“I would think so. I think that’s the deadline he’s working on,” Longwell said. “I don’t think Brett owes anything to anybody. I don’t think he approaches it that way. So I think the deadline he’s working off of is the team showing up and he wants to be there to get to know the guys and get to know who he’s playing with. I think the yes or no, ideally, would be for that Thursday reporting day.”
Longwell also defended his friend when asked about his feeling that Favre doesn’t owe anybody.
“I know it’s been said that he owes the Vikings something. I don’t see it that way,” Longwell said. “I think he’s worked so hard to get his arm ready, his body ready with the surgery and getting into shape and everything. I just think he’s got to do what’s right for him. … He just wants to be at peace with it. There’s no reason to make a decision two weeks ago and not be at peace with it. I think we still have time. I think he wants to be in there for the full time even though he doesn’t necessarily enjoy training camp. He wants to be there.”