Mark Chmura's perseverance on the football field catapulted him from a virtually unknown rookie with unlimited potential to one of the greatest tight ends in franchise history.
Best known to Packer Nation as No. 89 and by the nickname "Chewy" during the mid-1990s, the intimidating 6-foot-5, 255-pounder played an integral part in the team's back-to-back Super Bowl appearances — including a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.
Chmura, who had 188 receptions for 2,253 yards and 17 touchdowns in 90 games during his eight-year career (1992 through 1999) with the Green and Gold, earned three Pro Bowl selections (1995, 1997, 1998), was twice named All-Pro (1995, 1998) and won a Super Bowl ring.
Chewy will take his place among the Green Bay greats as a member of the Packers Hall of Fame Class of 2010 during induction ceremonies at the Lambeau Field Atrium on July 17, along with offensive lineman Greg Koch and tight end Marv Fleming.
"It's a tremendous honor," said Chmura, who will be presented for induction by 540 AM ESPN Radio's Miller Lite Football Show co-host Craig Karmazin. "I was shocked by the call back in December but was excited to hear the news. Looking back at the history of the franchise and all of the great players through the years, it's exciting to think that I will be joining them. It's special for me but will be even more special for my kids to see my plaque hanging amongst some of the biggest legends.
Mark Chmura scores in Super Bowl XXXII.
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
As part of the NFL's No. 1-ranked offense in 1996, the Packers rolled to a 13-3 regular-season record with a division title, won the NFC championship and captured a victory in Super Bowl XXXI.
"Our main focus was on winning," Chmura said. "Offensively, we only had one superstar with Brett (Favre) but backed him with a group of talented young players and strong veterans. We were unselfish and would do anything to help the team be successful above anything else. Egos were never really a part of it. Most teams would kill to have just a few leaders, but we had so many of them scattered throughout the roster. After coming up short in the playoffs three straight seasons, we really believed it was our year."
Despite winning eight of its first nine games to begin the campaign, the Packers' character was seriously tested by back-to-back losses.
"Mike (Holmgren) always harped on working through adversity," Chmura said of the losses to Kansas City and Dallas. "At that point, the season could've gone one of two ways but we answered the challenge by winning out the rest of the way. We had suffered some key injuries but showed our true character in the way we responded to the challenge."
Green Bay claimed its first world championship in 29 years in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 1997.
"The magnitude of what we had accomplished didn't hit immediately," added Chmura, who scored the final points of the game by catching a two-point conversion pass following Desmond Howard's touchdown on a kickoff return.
"After it was over, we truly didn't know what to do and were ready to play another game. We were on such a roll that we didn't want to see it end. It was just a special moment in time."
Agree or disagree?: Discuss hot Packers topics in our, free forums. Leave publisher Bill Huber a question in the subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum.
E-mail Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org.