Ex-teammates help honor White

Many of Reggie White's teammates flocked to Green Bay this weekend to honor the late, great defensive end as he was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame Saturday night. White also will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 5.

Reggie White had a way of attracting others to wherever he was because of his leadership ability. He did it as a player when he signed as a free agent with the Green Bay Packers in 1993 and he continued to do so in spirit on Saturday night for his induction into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. Many of his former teammates were on hand, and they showed the utmost repect toward the best defensive end ever to play in the National Football League.

Former Packers tight end Keith Jackson served as the present for White. Others including Santana Dotson, Sean Jones, Frank Winters, William Henderson, Edgar Bennett, Doug Evans, Gilbert Brown and LeRoy Butler were on hand to honor White. Many offered their memories of White during the induction ceremony and beforehand to the media in the Lambeau Field Atrium.

White, who passed away on Dec. 26, 2004, is the most honored athlete ever to play defensive end in the NFL and was a key player for the Packers' 1996 team that won Super Bowl XXXI. In honor of the huge impact "The Minister of Defense" had during his six-year Packers career (1993-98), the Packers retired his No. 92 at the 2005 home opener, Sept. 18, vs. Cleveland.

White joined the Packers as the NFL's most sought-after free agent in 1993 and immediately elevated the performance of the Green and Gold's defense. After finishing 23rd in the league in 1992, the unit rose to No. 2 in 1993. The defense ranked No. 1 during the 1996 championship season, the first such ranking since 1967.

"He wanted people to fear him and also wanted people to like him," Jackson recalled. "It was the weirdest thing. He'd come up and shake hands with guys afterwards and say, ‘Oh yeah, I'm sorry about that little spat we had.'"

All of White's ex-teammates present Saturday night felt that White was the main reason for the Packers' success in the mid-1990s. If not for White signing with the Packers, many other top players probably would have steered away of Green Bay.

"When Reggie came here, people felt that if Reggie can go to Green Bay and perform and make money and win championships, we have an opportunity to do so, too," Winters said. "I think that helped a lot. We had some good guys come here and sign after he left the Packers. Maybe that wouldn't have happened if (Reggie) didn't (sign). He took that first step and made it happen."

Current Packers honored at the banquet included Donald Driver, Nick Collins and Samkon Gado. They received awards for ‘Most Valuable Player,' ‘Defensive Rookie of the Year' and ‘Offensive Rookie of the Year,' respectively.

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