Hot Read: Don't forget about Wolf

In a couple weeks the Green Bay Packers will unveil their newly-renovated stadium with a week-long celebration called 'Rebirth of a Legend.' Everywhere you look, you'll find tributes to the men who made an imprint on football's most fabled franchise. Well, most of them, anyway. Where's the tribute to Ron Wolf?<p>

On your way to the festivities you can travel north on Holmgren Way to Lombardi Avenue and hang a left to Lambeau Field. The Don Hutson Center is in view, just east of the stadium, where the Packers hold their indoor practices. Chances are you'll pass through the newly dedicated Robert E. Harlan Plaza and upon taking your seat, you might gaze up at the recently christened Lee Remmel Press Box, named after the teams' long-time PR director.

W. Keith Roerdink

Holmgren. Lombardi. Lambeau. Hutson. Harlan. Remmel. Isn't someone missing from this who's-who list of Packer greats? Surely, the former GM would fit in nicely.

Lost in all the namings, dedicatings and re-birthings is the chance to honor a man who breathed new life into an organization that had just four winning seasons in 24 years. A man who gave fans something to talk about besides the Majik-al 10-6 season of 1989 and the instant-replay win against the Bears. Someone whose impact not only helped the Packers to victory in Super Bowl XXXI, but is still being felt today.

Is there some reason Cheeseheads can't drive their vehicles down 'Ron Wolf Boulevard' or 'Wolf's Court' on their way to the game on Sunday?

Will there be a plaque at the entrance of Lambeau Field? A re-naming of the team's administration building? Anything?

There's a new pub in the Packer's Atrium called 'Curly's,' and Brett Favre's 'Two-Minute Grill,' so couldn't there have been a 'Wolf's Den?' Fans could chow down a 'Draft Day dog' with mustard and 'Third-Round Pick-le relish (some of Wolf's best work was done in the third -- Robert Brooks, Earl Dotson, William Henderson, Antonio Freeman, Mike Flanagan, Tyrone Williams, Mike McKenzie) surrounded by mementos of Wolf's personnel and personal triumphs.

Without launching into a lengthy history lesson (okay, it's going to be a little lengthy), Wolf has done more than enough to warrant some love from a city and organization that he poured his heart and soul into. Yes, he's in the Packer's Hall of Fame, but it seems that the 'Rebirth of a Legend' would have been the perfect opportunity to show some additional appreciation for one of the chief architects of said rebirth.

This is the man who traded a No. 1 pick to Atlanta for some quarterback with a goofy name no one could pronounce correctly. A quarterback who became three-time league MVP Brett Favre.

Stop there, and Wolf is already worthy of at least a cul-de-sac.

Wolf is also the one who handpicked a 49ers offensive coordinator with no head coaching experience to run his team in 1992. A coach who got a street named after him in 1997. Most fans were hoping the 'Big Tuna,' Bill Parcells would coach the team. But Wolf knew.

Then in 1993, Wolf pulled one of the great upsets in NFL history when, along with Mike Holmgren (and God), convinced the 'Minister of Defense' to come to Green Bay in a new era of unrestricted free-agency that was supposed to doom teams like the Packers.

By the time he was done, Wolf had transformed the league's smallest market from a players' punch line to a destination spot ripe with playoff runs and championship games. While the team is six-years removed from their last Super Bowl appearance, many of the pieces are in place for another run at football's ultimate prize thanks to the drafting genius of Wolf.

The Packers are also getting mileage off of Wolf's second-greatest trade. Remember Fred Vinson? Probably not. He was the second of three cornerbacks the Packers selected in 2000 when they took Antuan Edwards in the first round and Mike McKenzie in the third. While you may not know Vinson, you surely know the player Wolf got when he shipped him to former coach Mike Holmgren and the Seattle Seahawks.

That would be two-time Pro Bowl running back Ahman Green. Vinson, in case you were wondering, is no longer in the league.

So whether you're actively participating in the 'Rebirth of a Legend' or enjoying it from afar, be sure to take a moment to acknowledge the man who did so much for your favorite team.

There's a stretch of Highway 172 that I sometimes travel when I'm heading to Packer games. Just south of Green Bay, as you cross the Fox River and get closer to the city, there's a great view of Lambeau Field off to the right. Without much of a skyline in Titletown, you can't miss it rising up from the ground in all its glory. I can't drive by it without recalling all the great games I've watched there over the past 10 years.

I think, unofficially, I'm going to re-name that stretch of road 'Wolf's Run.' Feel free to call it that yourself, if you're so inspired.

(Editor's note: W. Keith Roerdink is a freelance writer from Wausau, Wis. and longtime contributor to the Packer Report. Check out his weekly Hot Read column each Thursday.)

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