The answer, Sean Taylor's family would tell you, is a not-so-comical, "a criminal."
It's easy to make light of the Herron situation, as has been the case in the chat rooms I've checked out. It's funny, however, until you imagine yourself in that situation. It's funny until you hear a window break at 11:19 p.m. It's funny until you hear footsteps headed your direction. It's funny until you wonder if the intruder wants your valuables.
It's funny until you wonder if he's ready to kill for them.
Suddenly, it's not so funny. Suddenly, it's easy to see why Herron ducked the media horde after Wednesday's practice.
"We've talked about it a lot as a football team," coach Mike McCarthy said. "Noah is going through a tough time, and we're supporting him and I'd like to leave it at that, and I hope you guys can respect that."
Hopefully, you can respect it, too. Hopefully, you can understand why Herron's not so eager to soak up the adulation or use his new-found celebrity in hopes of landing an endorsement gig for a local furniture company.
What if the intruders had been armed? What if they had struck first? What if they have a friend who will help them get revenge?
It's all so sobering. It's certainly no reason to stop living or to barricade your doors or to buy a posse of German shepherds. It is, however, reason to take pause.
I grew up in a speck of community that's not big enough to get on most maps. It's the kind of place where, unless you were leaving town for the weekend, you didn't bother to lock the doors. It's something that's followed me to adulthood, even living here in Green Bay. Maybe I'm naïve or courting trouble, but I couldn't tell you which key on my keyring is for the front door, which is for the back or if I have either of them. If I'm a fool, I'm not the only one.
"This is a place where you can leave your door open if you want to," said cornerback Al Harris, who said his Green Bay-area home was burglarized while he was at the Pro Bowl in February. "But there are some bad apples. I hate that Noah had to go through this or anybody would have to go through this type of thing."
If anything, the Herron incident will serve as a wakeup call, for Packers and non-Packers alike. No matter if you live in Cleveland, Ohio, or Cleveland, Wis., or Green Bay or Green Lake, there are criminals who don't care whether you're a pro football player, a single mom or an elderly couple.
"Crime really has no boundaries," center Scott Wells said. "They'll go where the money is. They'll find it. If people want to break in, they're not going to stay in one area. It just lets you know — be smart. It really hit home with me because I have kids. You really have to take the necessary precautions to try to stay secure."
Authorities say the two people who broke into Herron's house are suspects in several other burglaries. If that's the case — or even if it's not — Herron struck a blow for the good guys. That's not the good news, though. The good news is Herron is alive and in position to not tell us about it.
Steve Lawrence is a frequent contributor to PackerReport.com. E-mail him at email@example.com