Kicker may have to punt

Sander has injured left knee

Ryan Longwell could be pressed into double duty Sunday against the Chicago Bears. Punter B.J. Sander is on the mend with a bruised left knee, the same leg with which he kicks. Sander sustained the injury early in the 48-3 loss at Baltimore on Monday, when he took a crushing, blindside block from Ed Reed on a 42-yard punt return by B.J. Sams early in the first quarter.

Sander was able to kick the rest of the game. However, Longwell said Sander was experiencing considerable soreness Wednesday, and he didn't practice.

Sander is listed as questionable for the upcoming game.

Consequently, Longwell punted in practice and is prepared to handle those duties if the team doesn't sign a free agent in the next couple days.

Longwell, a ninth-year pro, handled the dual role his last three years at the University of California. He earned All-Pac 10 first-team honors as a punter during his senior season.

"Not many people know that my scholarship was to punt there," Longwell said. "It will take a little to get used to, but I hit some good ones today. If worst-case scenario I need to, I could get us through, for sure."

Longwell incorporates some punting reps into his practice routine on Fridays.

He's punted four times as a pro in games, the last two occurring in 2003 in quick-kick situations. Longwell filled in for an injured Louie Aguiar in a game in 1999.

"I've done it enough to be comfortable with it," Longwell said.

Longwell is more concerned about the holding situation for his kicks. Sander has been his holder since the start of the season, and the two have jelled the last two months after some initial struggles.

Rookie quarterback Aaron Rodgers is the backup holder, but he's taken only a handful of reps in practice.


Packer Report Top Stories