Wolf makes first cut

Green Bay Packers Hall of Famer Ron Wolf is one of 89 nominees for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Wolf, the legendary architect of the Packers' amazing turnaround from the NFL's "Siberia" to a Super Bowl champion and two-time NFC titleist, was Green Bay's general manager from late 1991 through 2001. The first major hire by Packers president Bob Harlan, Wolf replaced Lindy Infante with Mike Holmgren, swung a trade with Atlanta for an unknown quarterback named Brett Favre and signed Reggie White and other key free agents such as Sean Jones and Keith Jackson.

Wolf's forte, however, was the draft, and that's where he excelled. In eight drafts starting in 1993, an uncanny 75 percent of his selections made the final roster. While his first-round track record was more miss than hit, Wolf made his hay by landing standout performers in the drafts' later rounds.

His 1992 draft wasn't his best, but he found Robert Brooks in the third round, Edgar Bennett in the fourth round and Mark Chmura in the sixth.

In 1993, he landed Wayne Simmons and George Teague in the first round, Earl Dotson in the third, Mark Brunell in the fifth and Doug Evans in the sixth.

In 1994, he grabbed Aaron Taylor in the first round, Dorsey Levens in the fifth round and Bill Schroeder in the sixth.

In 1995, Craig Newsome was the first-round pick, with William Henderson, Brian Williams and Antonio Freeman taken in the third, and Adam Timmerman in the seventh.

In 1996, Mike Flanagan and Tyrone Williams were picked in the third round, Marco Rivera in the sixth and Keith McKenzie in the seventh.

In 1997, Ross Verba was grabbed in the first round and Darren Sharper in the second.

In 1998, Vonnie Holliday was the first-round pick, followed by Corey Bradford in the fifth and Scott McGarrahan and Matt Hasselbeck in the sixth.

In 1999, Antuan Edwards was picked in the first round, Mike McKenzie and Cletidus Hunt in the third, Aaron Brooks and Josh Bidwell in the fourth and Donald Driver was picked in the seventh.

In 2000, Bubba Franks was grabbed in the first round, Chad Clifton in the second, Na'il Diggs in the fourth, Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila in the fifth and Mark Tauscher in the seventh.

In 2001, in which Wolf worked with Mike Sherman, Jamal Reynolds was a first-round flop but Robert Ferguson was grabbed in the second. Of the other four picks, Bhahow Jue, Torrance Marshall and David Martin remain on the roster.

The constant influx of new, talented blood helped the Packers win the Super Bowl following the 1996 season and reach the championship game the following season.

Without a snooping owner peeking over his shoulder, the historic Green Bay franchise was the perfect fit for the historian Wolf.

"Green Bay is it, as far as I'm concerned, for that very reason," Wolf once said. "There isn't an owner whose ego needs to be stroked. You're given everything you need to do the job. To me, that's so important. Nobody has denied us anything."

The 89-man preliminary Hall of Fame list will be trimmed to 25 semifinalists. After one final cutdown, the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee will choose the Class of 2005 on Feb. 5, the day before the Super Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla. The final results will be announced that day.

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