The Pack Recap: Reggie White

Hello everyone and welcome to the Pack Recap. Last week, we started our 1993 season analysis and that will be a continuing theme as we move forward. Which brings us to today, when we will begin to view the important offseason acquisitions. And it doesn’t get bigger than the topic today, Reggie White.

Reggie White began his football journey in Chattanooga, Tennessee, earning All American Honors in his senior season at Howard High School. He was rated the number one recruit in Tennessee by a local newspaper. At the age of 12, White’s mother said he wanted to be two things. A football player, and a minister.

White played college football at Tennessee from 1980-1983. He worked his way into the starting lineup in his freshmen year and continued getting better his sophomore year, leading the team in sacks and tackles for a loss. An ankle injury hampered his junior season, but he came back in his senior season and erupted with his best college campaign, setting the school single season sack record with 15. White finished his final season as an All American, the SEC Player of the Year, and a Lombardi Award finalist.

Following his collegiate career, White chose to play in the USFL due to them offering the chance to play pro football in his home state. After the USFL folded, White was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, where he rewrote their record book. In eight seasons, he racked up 124 sacks in 121 games. He register 21 sacks in just 12 games in 1987, the Eagles single season record, an NFL record for most sacks per game at 1.75 per game.

Following being a key figure in an antitrust lawsuit against the league that resulted in modern free agency, Reggie White became the most attractive free agent on the market. With the ability to choose where he could sign, White fielded offers from large market teams as well as small. While many thought he would sign with a large market team, White stunned the NFL by signing with Green Bay on a 4 year, 17 million dollar deal making him the third highest paid player in the NFL at the time.

Green Bay recruited White heavily, with defensive coordinator Ray Rhodes being instrumental. White said he would go where God wanted him to go, and Mike Holmgren would call him and tell him God wanted him to go to Green Bay. White finally agreed, and the “Minister of Defense” was on his way to Green Bay. Most point to his connection with Mike Holmgren as one of the most important aspects of his decision, as well as his view on young QB Brett Favre, whom he believed would be better than Randall Cunningham.

The impact of the signing can’t be overstated, both for Green Bay and for the NFL. It showed other players and other teams that they didn’t have to play for big markets. It caused a number of other players in the coming years, like Keith Jackson and Sean Jones, to join the Packers as well. And it paid off with a Super Bowl victory, as White had 3 sacks in the biggest game of his career. It would be the only championship he would win at any level.

For as much as his on field accomplishments were lauded, White became an ordained minister off the field. It gave him his on field nickname, and White would often lead bible studies and prayers on the field with his fellow players. His faith was instrumental to his life, and it allowed him to connect with people on every level.

Sadly, White would pass away in December of 2004, but his legacy continues to live on. He continually ranks as one of the greatest defensive players of all time, and it’s a place he is likely to stay.

ACCOLADES:

THEY SAID IT:

“The great free-agent acquisition in NFL history was getting Reggie White.” – Brett Favre

“Reggie, this is God. Come to Green Bay.”- Mike Holmgren on Reggie White’s answering machine.

“All I said to Holmgren was: ‘This improves your football team, doesn’t it?’ He said: ‘It sure does.'”- Bob Harlan

“But if I had to pick one thing he liked most about Green Bay, Holmgren was it.”- Jimmy Sexton

“We’ve now given ourselves somebody the offense has to be concerned with other than [linebacker] Tony Bennett. We’ve improved our defense dramatically. Realistically, the best step we’ve made was the hiring of Mike Holmgren. But this is a very key move.”- Ron Wolf

The author would like to thank Wikipedia.com, packersnews.com, and SI.com

Previous Pack Recaps on 1993 Season:

The Pack Recap: 1993 Green Bay Packers

Leave a Reply