White commanded respect

When late defensive end surprisingly came to Green Bay, others followed

The late Reggie White will be honored today when his number is retired by the Green Bay Packers. If there was ever one player who helped turn the Packers around, it was White.

"Without him we would have never done what we accomplished," said Packers president Bob Harlan.

How true. Credit Harlan for hiring Ron Wolf, who wnet out and hired Mike Holmgren in 1992. The two, along with Harlan, pursued White in the off-season of 1993 with very slim hopes of obtaining the prized free agent. Somehow, some way, White bought into the Packers and the rest is history.

"I thought we absolutely we would retire in Philadelphia," said Reggie's widow Sara White.

Not so.

White had a respect about him unlike any other player in the National Football League. Players looked up to him, whether they were veterans or rookies. Coaches admired his work ethic and leadership.

With White in Green Bay, others star players followed, like defensive end Sean Jones, tight end Keith Jackson and safety Eugene Robinson. Other players took pay cuts to remain in Green Bay.

Where Green Bay was once the scrap heap of the NFL, a place where players would go only as a last resort to keep their careers alive, Titletown was revived because of White.

"That's what helped us take off in the 1990s," Harlan said.

White combined with quarterback Brett Favre and led the Packers to greatness. Favre learned from White and vice versa. The two helped develop a chemistry in the locker room that enabled the team dominate on the field in the mid-1990s.

"Reggie brought character and leadership to Green Bay," said Sara White. "He was very persuasive because of his demeanor, and because of his sincerity and knowledge, people listened."

Packers fans at Lambeau Field and throughout the world will be cheering for Reggie White today when his number 92 is retired.

Note: Todd Korth is managing editor of PackerReport.com and Packer Report. E-mail him at packrepted@aol.com.

Packer Report Top Stories