- Associated Press - Sunday, December 19, 2010

FOXBOROUGH, MASS. (AP) - New England guard Dan Connolly’s 71-yard kickoff return against Green Bay is believed to be the longest ever for an NFL offensive lineman.

According to STATS Inc., Connolly’s rumble Sunday night is the longest since 1976, when complete records have been kept. Detroit’s Larry Tearry had a 30-yard return in 1978 that had been was recognized as the longest since then.

Atlanta’s Mal Snider had a 48-yard return in 1969.

Connolly didn’t not score _ he was forced at the 4. But the New England Patriots scored three plays later to take a 17-14 lead.

The 6-foot-4, 313-pound Connolly fielded the ball at the Patriots 25 on a short kick by Mason Crosby. Connolly cradled the ball in both arms preparing for a hit that never came.

He stiff-armed one defender, who swiped at the ball at around the Packers 35, then sidestepped Crosby before being pushed out at the 4.

Connolly later left with a head injury.

___

AP Sports Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.

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