3

April

Character Still Matters for the Green Bay Packers

NFL, Green Bay Packers, Ted Thompson, Mike McCarthy, Aaron Rodgers, Packer People, Packers players, Johnny Jolly, Packers character, Packers off the field

Johnny Jolly is proof that Green Bay is a very special place to play.

Another week, another story about an NFL player (allegedly) engaging in shady off-field activities.

This time it’s former Philadelphia Eagles and now-current Washington Redskins wide receiver DeSean Jackson and his supposed affiliation with a gang. Jackson denies such activity, but the fact the accusation has even been made stains his reputation.

This is just the most recent in a string of stories over the past several seasons involving NFL players and criminal activities. Aaron Hernandez, currently awaiting trial on miser charges, is probably the most severe but there have been so many other instances this entire article would just be a list if all were to be mentioned.

Drunk driving, drugs, domestic violence, assault and the aforementioned murder are just some of the charges levied against NFL players the past several seasons. The league has an image problem and commissioner Roger Goodell has his hands full trying to fix it.

This is why NFL fans, regardless of what team colors they wear on Sundays, should be thankful for a team like the Green Bay Packers.

Since general manager Ted Thompson and head coach Mike McCarthy arrived in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the Packers have been able to avoid the off field issues so many other teams have had to deal with over and over again.

The one potential exception to this for the Packers, the past drug arrests of defensive lineman Johnny Jolly, was turned into a positive this past year when Jolly was reinstated by the NFL and was named the team’s Ed Block Courage Award recipient for how he has turned his life around and became a locker room leader (per Aaron Rodgers himself) in the process.

How has Green Bay been fortunate to avoid the distractions a good chunk of the rest of the league often encounters?

Well, for one, character sometimes has to trump talent in the eyes of Thompson and McCarthy and it should. This is why the Packers have passed on players such as Randy Moss and Terrell Owens in the past, despite lobbying by fans and a certain former MVP quarterback.

They might be uber-talented on the football field, but if they cause distractions off the field or disharmony in the locker room, what’s the point? McCarthy and Thompson value a united locker room above all else and they won’t introduce any element that risks upsetting this.

26

September

Packers vs. Seattle: Moving on from Monday Night: It. Is. Time.

Green Bay Packers huddle

Green Bay Packers will unite at Lambeau Field this Sunday

By now, you’ve all probably read everyone’s take on last night’s embarrassing showing by the NFL.  I’m a bit late to the party but I have the benefit of some extra time to digest what took place and having read it all too.  I don’t have it figured out, probably never will.  But I do know that I feel very disappointed.

I’m not going to break down the numbers, re-hash the stats or talk about the “shoulda, woulda, coulda”.  So what am I going to do?  I’m just going to shoot straight from the hip.  I’m going add this one to the list of disappointments in recent Packer history:

- The Terrell Owens TD catch in the end zone to beat the Pack during the 1998 season playoffs.  A loss that ironically was affected by another bad call by a referee as an obvious Jerry Rice fumble was ruled down by contact.  Back then there was no instant replay and the call stood.  9ers drove down and. . . .

- 1st playoff loss at Lambeau Field against the Atlanta Falcons (a dome team) during 2002 season playoffs

- 4th and 26 a year later

- The embarrassing playoff loss to the Vikings during the 2004 season playoffs

- The entire 2005 season

- The gut-wrenching NFCCG loss to the Giants during the 2007 playoffs that would be Brett Favre’s last game in a Packer uniform

-The 2008 offseason and eventual trade of Favre to the Jets and the drama that it brought with it

-Last year’s playoff loss, again to the Giants, after a 15-1 regular season

You’re probably all saying “well most of those are playoff games.  Of course they’re disappointing!”.  No, last night’s Packers vs. Seahawks matchup wasn’t a playoff game, but it sure felt like it, didn’t it?  As I’m sitting here watching the replay of the game’s final play for about the 50th time and over 24 hours later, it feels as though the Packers lost much more than a single football game.  Over the past day, not a single side bar on ESPN’s network is without at least one topic related to yesterday’s contest.  When was the last time a regular season game, especially this early in the season, got this much play?

23

March

Jeff Saturday is Now a Green Bay Packer Person (with videos)

Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft

Jeff Saturday and Robert Kraft

ESPN’s Adam Schefter announced on twitter today that former Colts All-Pro center Jeff Saturday is now “Packer People.”

Looking at Saturday’s career and actions on and off the field, if such a thing as “Packer People” exists, Saturday would certainly embody it.  You may remember Saturday’s heartfelt words thanking Patriot’s owner Robert Kraft for “saving football” while dealing with his wife’s illness at the end of last year’s lockout.

Saturday is a devout Christian and a popular motivational speaker,  speaking on leadership and teamwork.

On the field, Saturday is a 5-time Pro Bowl selection (as recent as 2010) and a 4-time All-Pro.  According to his agent Ralph Cindrich, Saturday signed a two-year deal with the Packers.

Saturday will be 37 years old by the time the season starts and this will most likely be his last contract in the NFL.  Still, I can’t think of a better stop-gap to lead the Packers offensive line while the Packers look to draft and prepare a center for the future.

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Jersey Al Bracco is the founder and editor of AllGreenBayPackers.com, and the co-founder of Packers Talk Radio Network. He can be heard as one of the Co-Hosts on Cheesehead Radio and is the Green Bay Packers Draft Analyst for Drafttek.com.

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