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Inbox: Bart Starr's gift was making anyone he ever met feel special

The COVID-19 season created new memories and traditions

Former QB/Head Coach Bart Starr

7. Who is the most famous Packers player or coach you've met in person?

Dave from Buffalo, MN

The most famous Packers player I met in person was Larry "the Rock" McCarren at the Packers Everywhere Pep Rally in Minneapolis. He spotted me wearing my autographed No. 65 Mark Tauscher jersey, another famous Packers player. The Rock graciously autographed a Packers Everywhere poster for me and we talked about great Packers offensive linemen like him. (Editor's note: Larry would've been my answer, too. Sure, football players are cool but I liked that Larry was on the news and hosted "The Locker Room" every Monday night during the season.)

Jim from Lima, OH

The most famous Packers player I met was Dave Robinson. A friend of mine who is good friends with Dave arranged for the three of us to play golf together in Akron, OH. After the round, he let me wear his Super Bowl I ring, which I put on my thumb and there was still room to spin it around. He also showed me a scrapbook which had page after page of football cards of the Packers of the 1960s and each one had been autographed. The entire day he never met a stranger. He took time for autographs or just to talk.

Craig from Johnson City, TN

Nick Collins. It was in the Orlando Packer Backers bar a year or two after he retired. He still looked like he could play. He was such a gentleman and gracious to the fans.

Marty from Galena, IL

The most famous Packers player or coach: At a preseason game in the late '70s, while tailgating, I witnessed my dad stop a man walking through the parking lot at Lambeau. He asked the man for his autograph. He graciously signed my dad's Packers hat. I inherited that hat and now have Bart Starr's autograph under glass in my house. I always heard that Bart Starr was a great person and I had all the proof I needed. (Editor's note: It's stories like this that show why Starr was so beloved. Starr was an MVP, a Super Bowl hero and an NFL legend, but his gift was making anyone he ever met feel special.)

Gretchen from Dousman, WI

In the 1960s, when I was growing up in Green Bay, many of the players frequented the downtown YMCA. My father, brother and I were tickled pink when Bart Starr and his sons attended family swim on a Friday evening. Dad and Bart stood talking in the shallow end while my brother and I shamelessly showed off with our back flips from the diving board.

Barry from San Luis Potosi, Mexico

Bart Starr carrying a broken dining chair to our front door ('62 or '63). "Hi, is Lloyd home?" Yes, he's around back in the (furniture repair) shop. I'll get him for you. Hey, Dad, Bart Starr's out front with a broken chair. Starr had walked around the house to the shop. "Hi, Lloyd, how have you been?" (Bart Starr knows my dad?)They shook hands, talked for 20 minutes, just shooting the breeze. Age 15, and I was stunned.

Tom from Palatine, IL

In the mid-80s, I worked as a customer service agent at O'Hare. A passenger walked up and handed me his ticket and it read Kramer/J GRB-ORD and ORD-DCA. I looked up and saw Jerry Kramer and told him I was a big Packers fan and he said "Oh, you're the one" (as we were going through some very lean times during that period). He assured me Forrest Gregg was going to change things up there, but after the Charles Martin/Jim McMahon episode, I must say I was never so ashamed to be a Packers fan.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

I once sat down at a blackjack table opposite Ray Nitschke, then almost 60. Over the next few hours, a steady stream of eager fans sat down between us, lost, and departed with a good story. But Ray and I were winning, so we got chummy. Well, at least until I waffled on a hand where the dealer showed bust. "Dar, if you hit that I'm going to KILL you!" That wonderful, menacing gravel bark! He was kidding, but I still winced. I can't imagine how opposing QBs must've felt when he was serious.

Jay from Big Flats, WI

As an employee of the Zoological Society, I met Ray Nitschke at the Milwaukee County Zoo's A la Carte in the late 1980s. I was in charge of the area where he was signing autographs and was responsible for "taking care" of him which was basically keeping his beer cup full. We shook hands and he asked me if I played any football. After I said "yes", the still-formidable Packer linebacker (who probably had 100 pounds on me) laughed and said "you?" Great guy, great afternoon.

Dean from Weslaco, TX

As most know, Ray Nitschke was a master mason. At the time (this would be 1968; I was 14), I was in Demolay and he attended one our meetings. I had to escort him into the meeting room. What I remember most was his size, especially his hands. They were huge. But the thrill of meeting and having a talk with him was something I will always remember. He was a super guy.

Gene from Anderson, IN

In the early 1980s. I accepted a job in Hobbs New Mexico. About two days on the job, I was invited to a dinner meeting of the county oil producers. I knew perhaps one or two people at the meeting so when I walked into the bar, I recognized one person who waived me over to his table. When I sat down the fellow to my right reached out his hand and said "Hi, I'm Ray Nitschke." He was the speaker for the night.

John from Kirkland, WA

Herb Adderley was my advertising account rep when I was with Stardate Productions in Milwaukee and he worked for Willie Davis' radio stations (WAWA now WLUM). And when we did a concert promotion with the station, Mr. Davis would join Mr. Adderley to work out the details on giveaways, concert-day PR for the station, on-air mentions, etc. FYI, Adderley still looked rock hard in his 40s.

Jim from Westland, MI

Most famous would be Don Hutson. As it was the holidays, my aunt took the family to the Racine County Club for dinner. I don't remember the circumstances, but walking with my aunt through the restaurant, she waved at and sat down at his table. As a young boy, I was stunned at how "normal" he looked. I was expecting a marvel comic huge person, but still it was one of the greatest ever...

Robert from Aiken, SC

I was working in kitchen design at the West-side Home Depot. This huge guy comes up and is asking about cabinets and appliances for a house he is building for his mom in Puerto Rico. Not long before, I'm on the phone with Puerto Rico trying to facilitate it all. I started getting his info together for the estimate. First name: Marco….and it hit me….No. 62. So, I go home and grab my Packers jacket out of the closet. Something in the pocket. Football card. Marco blanking Rivera! 100% true story.

Tom from Highland Village, TX

One of the greatest memories from my 39-year aviation career was when I flew the Packers charter on August 25, 2016 to San Jose, CA (49ers). Not only did I get to meet all 90 players, plus Mark Murphy, Ted Thompson, and Mike McCarthy, but I also met Mike and Wes just as they were taking over from Vic. My lasting impression was just how huge Josh Sitton and Julius Peppers were. Since then I've able to reconnect with Mark, Mike and Wes at every Dallas pep rally.

Dennis from Parrish, FL

It's April 2002 and I am going to a wedding of a great friend and I know Freddie Carr, Packers Hall of Famer, and stalwart of my youth will be attending. He is best friends of the bride's father, from being football teammates on a mythical junior college national champion in the AZ. I ended talking to him for 15 minutes and he couldn't have been any nicer! Great player great guy!

Kyle from Ennis, MT

The only Green Bay Packers player I've met in-person was Aaron Rodgers, in the summer of 2019. I was pretty pumped to hear he was coming out to the course I worked on and was able to run into him out playing. I gave him a Go Pack Go instantly. He smiled, walked over and we exchanged handshakes/ names. He asked me if I'd ever been to Lambeau, so I told him I'd been to three games. Telling him the games and seeing his memory/ talking about each game was unreal. Never did I think I'd talk football with AR 12.

With 67 days until the regular-season opener, packers.com looks back at those who have worn No. 67 in Green Bay.

Mark from Geneva, IL

Living in Illinois, I don't get too many chances to meet Packers personnel. I have met two people, Mike Sherman on a train to the gates at the airport in Orlando. It was after league meetings down there several years ago. He was courteous but obviously focused on getting to his flight. Two years ago, I met James Jones at the W hotel in Chicago. He was in town with the TV crew to broadcast a Bears game. He was very gracious, talked to us for about 15 minutes and we were able to pictures. Great guy!

Kent from Lewiston, ID

I met both Coach Holmgren and Coach Reid in 1994. When traveling to Packerland in December 1994, I sat next to Andy's mother, Elizabeth, who introduced us at Austin Straubel airport. The next day Coach Reid called me at our hotel, took us on a tour of Lambeau Field and introduced us to Coach Mike. The Packers beat the Bears 40-3. Moral of the story, be nice to elderly ladies on airplanes and something good might happen to you! Thanks Elizabeth, I am a true fan! RIP!

Cindy from Mesa, AZ

Mark Murphy was my little league softball coach! He also organized a community basketball league that I played in for years, and often would come down to ref a few games or guest coach. This was back when he was the AD at Colgate. What an impact he made on a small community – every kid in that town who played sports had their lives improved because of his efforts.

Sam from Greendale, WI

THE man: LeRoy Butler. My wife and I were at a Milwaukee area Pick n' Save and an employee told us LeRoy Butler was signing autographs. We laughed it off thinking he was making a joke, but no, he was actually there! We went over and stood in line for photos. We took a few photos and since we weren't planning on running into the Lambeau Leaping Legend and had nothing to sign, he took a few post cards and signed those for free.

Bret from Hertel, WI

It was Aaron Kampman's rookie year. I was sitting by the fence during training camp and I yelled, "Way to go, Aplington-Parkersburg!" He yelled back, "Who said that?" And the entire crowd near me pointed at me. He ran towards me and smiled. After practice, we met and set up a time to meet about a student event. Three months later, during the bye week, he called me during Monday Night Football from Louisiana. He was golfing with Doug Pederson and Brett Favre.

Ed from Des Plaines, IL

Who is the most famous Packers player or coach you've met in person? Mark Tauscher on the steps of Lambeau after a Packers 5K. On his way to a media event, he took time to speak to me. John Anderson, the following year, inside the Pro Shop. I said, "You look an awful lot like John Anderson." "I get that a lot" was his reply. Both exchanged hearty handshakes and smiles. My wife asked each time, "Who was that?" I was thrilled to tell her. What's the saying, "Memories make us rich?"

Eric from Mequon, WI

Traveling to Green Bay for work, I would stop at the Urban Frog (now closed) and many Packers players would come there for lunch. I would get intimidated and not want to bother them but one day A.J. Hawk was there and I'm a huge OSU fan so I asked (and got) his autograph. Before we separated, I patted him on the shoulder and to my surprise it was nothing but pure muscle... like patting a horse on the shoulder. I got a new appreciated for him afterward.

Richard from Livermore, CA

Most famous Packer player/coach I ever met was Gilbert Brown. While waiting behind some railing near the team bus after a preseason game in Oakland, I saw the players file on to the bus, and realized if I called their name they might come over. But it was tough to see faces in the dim light. However, when Gilbert arrived it was so obvious who he was I yelled "Hey Grave Digger" and he immediately walked over to us. I shook his hand and had a brief conversation. The man was SO UNBELIEVABLY HUGE!

Bob from Bement, IL

In Nov 1991, I met Paul Hornung in his hometown of Louisville at a sports bar just prior to a weekly TV show he did there. He spent over 20 minutes talking with me at the bar and made me feel like I was his lifelong friend. I met Ray Nitschke a few years later, outside Illinois' Memorial Stadium. A glass of scotch and huge cigar in his left hand, I shook his free hand and told him he was my football idol as a kid. One of his friends laughed and said, "You must have had a terrible childhood!"

Jeff from Victorville, CA

The most famous Packer player I met was Nick Barnett. I was his parents' UPS driver. After his rookie year, he was home in the offseason and there was a party for him. His brother got a five-on-five touch football game together. Me, my two sons, Nick and some other person were on one team. Quite the memory. Winning a touch football game playing with my two sons and a Packer player. Memories make us rich!

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

The only Packers player I really met personally was "Hawg" Hanner when I was about 10. Growing up in GB, I saw many players around town but never invaded their privacy. I lived three blocks through Joannes Park from Old City Stadium. The players' locker room was under the South stands, and the board walls of the stadium were not in the greatest shape. Through a hole in the boards after one game, I saw "Hawg" Hanner in a whirlpool tub right next to the wall and I called out to him. To my surprise, he answered and we struck up a conversation. I found a gameday program on the ground and handed it to him thru the hole, and he signed it and returned it to me. Don't know whatever happened to that program, but I will never forget the event.

Al from Pasadena, CA

I've never met a Packers player, but I met Mark Murphy, Spoff and Wes at the 2018 rally in Los Angeles and had my picture taken with all.

Dave from Bentonville, AR

Wes, I hope someday to meet in Zihuantanejo. (Editor's note: I'll refurbishing the boat.)

8. With Lambeau Field closed to fans during the regular season, were there any new gameday traditions you started during the pandemic?

Doug from Neenah, WI

My new 2020 game day tradition was to turn off the talking heads on TV and follow the games live on packers.com with Mike's play-by-play. He does such a great job! Plus, it's like being with a bunch of friends who are also fanatics. The game can always be viewed later in an hour's time without commercials. Thanks for all the great content here.

Deb from Green Bay, WI

My new gameday tradition was to start following Spoff's live blog. Fun to interact with other fans when we were all at home socially distanced.

David from Appleton, WI

The new gameday tradition started in COVID 2020 was conversing with my best friend Ken in Ottawa, Ontario, each week for the game. Each week, we would keep each other appraised on the Packers and Ravens games, respectively, and cheer each team on during play. I got a much greater awareness of another team's fan base while spreading Packers enthusiasm internationally.

Matt from Burlington, WI

I started a tradition of a flag on the patio and grilling meat before the game and at halftime. The kids really liked it. There are usually leftovers, but our small circle of friends always knew to stop over for a bite.

Mike from Las Vegas, NV

This is a bit new tradition and a bit game day recipe. Last year we started cooking food from the city of the team we played every week. It was fun, my daughter and I would look up what each city was famous for and then plan the game day meal.

Nik from Moore, SC

Yelling at the TV. It wasn't as much fun without friends to yell with you.

Jeff from Eveleth, MN

I started having Beer No. 1 before kickoff instead of at halftime. For 2021, I'm leaning towards starting a pregame "Bakhtiari Chug" before kickoff.


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