Jones won't deviate from Harlan's style

Incoming Packers president John Jones and beefy former Packers defensive tackle were in the spotlight on Tuesday at the Red Smith Sports Awards banquet.

Green Bay Packers past and present were in the spotlight at the Red Smith Sports Awards Banquet at the Radisson Paper Valley Hotel in Appleton on Tuesday night.

Gilbert Brown was given the Red Smith Award, given to an individual who contributed to sports on and off the field in Wisconsin, while incoming team president John Jones was a featured speaker.

"I promise to do my level best to keep our franchise going in the right direction," said Jones, 54, who will replace Bob Harlan as team president in May.

Jones' life is headed in the right direction after having emergency heart surgery in June.

"It's in my rearview mirror," said Jones, quoted in the Appleton Post-Crescent. "But you couldn't go through an experience like that and not have it change your outlook a little bit. But my doctors couldn't be happier. They don't want to see me."

For the most part, the football side of the operation won't be hearing much from Jones, at least in terms of edicts and advice. That's in keeping with Harlan's style.

"On the football side, we've got great leadership in football," Jones said. "I don't want anybody to think we're going to deviate from what has made us successful, and that is to pick the right people to lead football and then let them do their jobs.

"I think that is the single-most important thing Bob did and that I will do."

While Jones will be running the show, he said not to expect any major changes.

"I'm not going to make any big changes in the organization," he said. "It took a number of years for me to get the experience and background that I have. I'll take my time thinking about issues like that."

Brown spoke as much about the past as the present. He says he dearly misses the game — he hasn't played since 2003 but has repeatedly lobbied the Packers for another opportunity in recent years — but has moved on with his life.

Even though he lives in Detroit, his lifelong love of cars has been filled with his role as director of new development and an investor with the Milwaukee Mile racetrack at State Fair Park in the Milwaukee suburb of West Allis.

Brown said he owns 22 cars, most of them muscle cars.

"I'm a Chrysler/Mopar man," said Brown, the beefy anchor of the great Packers defenses of the mid-1990s. "It's just one of those things that I love to do.

"I don't have a favorite car. If I chose a favorite, then the rest of them would get jealous and not start."

Like most retired athletes, Brown misses the locker room banter as much as the sport.

"The most memorable thing would be just sitting in the meeting room with Reggie (White), Sean (Jones) and Santana (Dotson)," Brown said. "Just being there with those guys and laughing and joking and having a good time, knowing that we were going to go out and kick somebody's butt on Sunday. That was probably the best part of it."

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