Packers Hall of Fame: Modest Henderson

We caught up with former fullback William Henderson at the Packers Hall of Fame Golf Classic on Monday. Henderson revived a long-dormant Packers running game but he credits the guys running the ball and blocking in front of him.

William Henderson played his role unselfishly during his career.

And he's modest about his success in retirement.

With his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame set for July 23, Henderson deflected the credit for clearing a path for eight 1,000-yard rushers during a 12-year at fullback for the Green Bay Packers.

"Two of my 1,000-yard rushers will be in the house that night, Edgar Bennett and Ahman Green," Henderson said at Monday's Packers Hall of Fame Golf Classic at The Bull in Sheboygan Falls, Wis. "I'm looking forward to thanking them for making me look good in so many ways because they were so explosive and so dynamic and very humble when it came to sharing the glory. They made me look extraordinarily talented."

No doubt, Green, Bennett and Dorsey Levens would say it was Henderson who helped make them look so good.

A third-round pick in 1995, the Packers hadn't had a 1,000-yard rusher since Terdell Middleton in 1978. Heck, they didn't even have an 875-yard rusher during that period. But Henderson arrived and the run game suddenly flourished. Bennett, the official starter at fullback in 1995, rushed for 1,067 yards. In 1997, Levens rumbled for the third-best season in Packers history with 1,435 yards. Ahman Green rushed for at least 1,160 yards from 2000 through 2004, including a franchise-record 1,883 yards in 2003.

William Henderson
Bill Huber/Packer Report
"My offensive line, most of them will be there and I can thank them for doing the dirty work in the trenches," Henderson said. "A lot of people want to give the credit and the glory to the wide receivers and the quarterback, but it was a team effort. The guys that got dirty in the trenches, they did it so well every time that you never heard their names. I'm glad they're going to be there so I can thank them, too."

One of those linemen, guard Marco Rivera, also will be inducted next weekend.

"We played all those years together," Rivera, a sixth-round pick in 1996 who played for the Packers through 2004, said after embracing Henderson and posing with him for a photo behind the ninth green. "Will and I are real good friends. To go in with Will, one of my close teammates and one of my friends, is special. We still keep in touch. We made the Pro Bowl the same year (2004) and we went out there with our families. Here we are again, going into the Hall of Fame, it just makes it that much more special. It's one of those things that you tell your grandchildren one day."

Henderson has a different perspective than most of his teammates who enjoyed the thrill of victory in Super Bowl XXXI and the agony of defeat of Super Bowl XXXII. For most, the loss eats at them so strongly that it almost overshadows the exhilarating feeling of winning it all the year before.

"Losing every game past Super Bowl XXXI (hurts)," Henderson said. "The reward was that you understand that you can can keep fighting the mission. It takes a lot of luck, a lot of blessings, a lot of hard work to get there. If you've ever gotten to that point, where you actually win the title of world champion, you need to respect the journey. That's what it did for me — it made me respect the journey."

Henderson certainly respected his journey. Despite his success, it took him almost his entire career to finally earn Pro Bowl honors. He didn't play for awards then and he's still a bit dumbstruck that he's been picked for the Packers Hall of Fame.

"I didn't do it for the accolades," he said. "I played the game because I loved the game. Fortunately, I was able to play for the best organization. I just gave it my all each day."

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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at

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