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Inbox: It's been a lifetime in the making

LeRoy Butler doesn’t want the headlines to be about him…but he’s earned them

LeRoy Butler between fellow Pro Football Hall of Famers James Lofton (left) and Dave Robinson.
LeRoy Butler between fellow Pro Football Hall of Famers James Lofton (left) and Dave Robinson.

Bret from Hertel, WI

How lucky are we to have the greatest players? They say Packer fans are the greatest fan base in football but seeing such a great person, LeRoy Butler, going into the Hall of Fame brings home the connection of players to the fan. The Lambeau Leap is more than a celebration because of that special bond between the fans and the Packer players. LeRoy, Thank You!

The Pro Football Hall of Fame has done a wonderful job of embracing Butler not just as a player, but also a person. I love how they've incorporated the Lambeau Leap into this week's festivities. Even NFL Network acknowledged the leap on Butler's lower third during Thursday night's Hall of Fame game. Every Packers fan knows how much LeRoy Butler means to this team and this city. It's cool seeing the rest of the country find that out.

Ingrid from Superior, WI

Wes, what a wonderful article on LeRoy Butler’s enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I love when you guys write articles with the background of players, how they came into football, etc. I can't wait to hear his speech Saturday. Much love to him and all of II.

I, too, cannot wait to listen to his speech. It's been a lifetime in the making. Even if Butler stays true to his word and the speech is short, it'll still be worth it. Because it's not just about what's on the page or the words LeRoy is saying. It's the fact he began building this speech 12 years ago with his mom. LeRoy Butler doesn't want the headlines to be about him…but he's earned them. I'm glad to see LeRoy have his day in the much-deserved sun.

Michael from Berrien Springs, MI

While always enjoying the personal articles on past or present players, I don't usually get caught up in them emotionally. But the article on LeRoy Butler really grabbed much for the words for and from his mother as it did for LeRoy himself. Her sense of pride in him while teaching him to stay humble and remember all the people along the way, I think she's worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.

I never had the privilege of meeting Mrs. Butler, but I sure heard a lot about her from LeRoy. The most fun I had with the project was reading old Press-Gazettes, State-Journals and Journal-Sentinels and learning more about Butler's mom and his upbringing. He conquered the obstacles to get to Green Bay but never lost what made him special – his ability to connect with people.

Ben from Pensacola, FL

Gosh, Wes. Made me choke up too. Good job! Obviously, I was not old enough when Butler played, but as a Packers fan since 2005, I remember looking into him. The article did a pretty good job (as much as one could hope) to illustrate an individual's greatness. (Fame was an improper word there, and I'm sure you can understand why.) It's funny, because he had a lot more people frustrated with the fact that he was being disrespected than he actually felt for himself.

Myself included.

Judi from Caledonia, WI

Good morning, Wes! I would like to thank you once again for hooking me up with LeRoy in 2018 so my dear friend Margaret and all could revel in his appearance at her home. We enjoyed dinner, conversation, and laughs. Margaret left us four months later. Her husband is in Canton to watch the induction ceremony. Memories surely do make us rich. LeRoy is one of a kind. So was my friend. And so are you, Wes. Your kindness doesn't go unnoticed.

Thank you, Judi. I'll forward your message to LeRoy and make sure he sees it. I'm glad you all had that moment. May Margaret rest in peace.

Linda from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning to Wes from Canton! Was your covering the Hall of Fame induction ceremony a reward for your diligent campaigning for LeRoy Butler, or was it just the luck of the draw between you and Spoff? Either way, I hope you have a wonderful time. Will you have an opportunity to interview LeRoy one-on-one? That would make a great "up close and personal" piece for Enjoy your visit to Canton! Looking forward to your coverage of the events!

We talked to LeRoy one-on-one on Friday after the photo op and I assume we will again Saturday after the ceremony. Spoff is the senior writer who gets first call, but he graciously allowed me to cover the event this weekend. It's also been a great, stress-free way for me to get the lay of the land here in Canton. I assume either Spoff or I will be here again in the coming years.

Dar from Mansfield, TX

Wes, any "feels" for you as you covered LeRoy Butler's Hall of Fame moments? He's such a positive guy, he overcame a lot just to get to the NFL, and you were a longtime stalwart in support of his induction. I imagine this was more than just another assignment for you.

I've told LeRoy this story before, but my grandfather was a massive fan of his. I think that's where it started for me. Grandpa Hank enjoyed framing covers of the Press-Gazette sports section that had big Packers stories or moments. I have many of them in my parents' basement now, including when Butler announced his retirement in 2002. I remember my grandfather mentioning how I need to appreciate Butler because most safeties don't play the way he did. My grandfather passed away in 2015. I've been thinking about him quite a bit this week.

Steve from Colorado Springs, CO

Being so far away, I really rely on and appreciate your reporting, Mike and Wes. Do either of you feel the offense or defense is gaining an overall observable edge over the other so far? It sounds like some quality competition has been going on as expected.

I will say this – I've never been more appreciative of Packers tweets and Spoff’s “5 Things” story until I wasn't in Green Bay for a day. Boy, do I feel in the dark after not watching the last three practices. The No. 1 defense has been as good as I've seen it through the first two weeks of practice. It has the makings of such a fast, penetrating unit. Whatever gaps there might be close fast. But it sounds like the offense had a good showing on Thursday, too. It's a constant give-and-take.

Al from Green Bay, WI

Wes, if I understand correctly, you will be fielding lots of questions that relate to Family Night while you're in Canton. What is your video access to the Family Night event to enable you to reply with your usual brilliance, insight and wit?

Only the video that was posted/leaked on Twitter...and Spoff's spellbinding tweets, of course.

Roger from Lakewood Ranch, FL

Good morning, Wes. Did you get to follow the Family Night scrimmage while in Canton? If so, what were your two or three takeaways from the scrimmage? As I am "out of market," I had no way of following it. So I am interested in any news from the event. (Especially if they did have actual tackling and if any injuries were incurred?)

There wasn't live tackling. Darnell Savage left with some hamstring tightness. He told reporters afterward he was doing OK, though. My takeaways were Jordan Love has momentum on his side heading into the preseason, Samori Toure continues to everything right as a seventh-round pick looking to make this roster and there's a lot to like about Quay Walker, especially with how he uses his explosiveness to fill gaps.

Craig from London, United Kingdom

Hi II, firstly thank you for keeping us non-natives up to date with training camp and secondly, which rookie has truly stood out on offence and defense? I have high hopes for Devonte Wyatt alongside Kenny Clark. I can't wait until Oct. 9. There's a pint behind any bar we bump into each other at!

I just want to reiterate as good as Romeo Doubs has looked in camp, Toure has made every catch and play that's come his way going back to rookie minicamp. Again, it's super early but Brian Gutekunst and his team have found some really good prospects at receiver. Also, Wyatt is ready for the preseason. Enough said.

Stephen from Menomonee Falls, WI

More of a request than a question. While mowing my lawn today, I was listening to the latest episode of “Packers Unscripted.” It had a run time of around 32 minutes, which ended about 5-6 minutes before I finished my lawn. I'm hoping you could extend the next episode for maybe 5-6 minutes, so we wrap up at the same time. That would be awesome and thanks in advance!

Man, I want your lawn…haha. Thirty-two minutes happens to be kind of on the long side for "Unscripted" runtime, but we'll keep that in mind.

Michael from Pound, WI

Gents, "players, not plays" was brought up yesterday. I've been thinking of that a lot lately as I listen to and read team updates. It led me to wonder what if Mr. Murphy didn't keep Gutey for GM or if Matt LaFleur wasn't hired as head coach. What would our team look like? What players would we have? If we had the same players with a different coaching style, would they be as good as we think they are going to be? What if we didn't have Mr. Murphy? So many right decisions made by this organization.

I've written it several times now, but Mark Murphy hit the cover off the ball with the promotion of Gutekunst in 2018 and hiring of Matt LaFleur in 2019. Those were franchise-empowering decisions that expediated what could have been a very difficult rebuilding process. Murphy caught a lot of flak but has never once said, "I told you so." Respect.

James from Chicago, IL

I recently read a statistic that 50% of WR drafted in Round 1 never have a 1,000-yard season and 30% have no more than two 1,000-yard seasons. It makes me wonder why so many fans believed trading up to draft a WR high in the first round, or in the first round at all was a great course of action. The law of averages says no matter where the WR was drafted he likely wouldn't make a huge impact. Considering how many good WRs the Pack has gotten outside of Round 1, why not just trust the system that has worked for 30 years?

The only conclusion I can draw is that receiver is one of the more glamorous positions, so fans naturally gravitate towards it. I don't begrudge them for wanting a first-round pick at receiver. My gripe has been, and always will be, these national sites getting fans stirred up about how "Aaron Rodgers has never thrown a touchdown to a first-round pick." It's lazy and it disrespects everything Donald Driver, Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, James Jones, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams have accomplished in their decorated careers. Those are six receivers who, in my mind, are all Packers Hall of Famers. I'm sorry none of them were first-round picks.

Tim from Greensboro, NC

Hello Wes and Mike. I know many consider Lazard lacks speed, which contributed to him going undrafted. However, I would submit MVS's 74-yard TD against the Raiders in 2019 as a rebuttal. Take a look at the trailing Packer who appears to be running stride for stride with MVS and definitely not losing ground. Perhaps a bad rap?

It's not a track meet. It's a football game. I couldn't care less what Lazard's 40 time was then or what it is now. He's a receiver in his prime who has Rodgers' trust.

Joe from Wausau, WI

With all the talk about Romeo Doubs, and Aaron touting Allen Lazard as a No. 1, it seems to me Sammy Watkins is being overlooked. I was at practice Thursday and was very impressed. I realize it's fair at this point to question whether he can stay healthy for an entire season. However, it doesn't appear to me his string of injuries has robbed him of his speed and quickness.

Watkins still has his speed. It took me two practices to figure that out. Echoing what Larry McCarren said earlier this week, Watkins has looked the part. His catch off the deep over route from Jordan Love was one of the top five plays in camp so far. If he's out there, Watkins is going to produce. It just comes down to staying healthy. Oh, and Watkins was a former first-round pick. I'm sure the pundits will like that.

Bil from Stateline, NV

Mike, you mentioned that your impression is that Romeo Doubs would rather not have the media attention. Does the team have a person, or crew, to help players with their dealings with the press? Not so much what to say, but how to present themselves, deal with nerves, etc. From a PR standpoint, I would think this would be advantageous to the team, as public perception of a player, reflects positively, or negatively, to the team as a whole.

Just for the record, Romeo Doubs has been nothing but respectful and courteous with the media so far. I think what Spoff is saying is Doubs isn't the type of person who likes to draw any attention to himself (beyond what he does on the field). He's handled himself well in the locker room and said yes to every interview request I've witnessed. He is just a lowkey personality and that's OK. So was the other No. 87.

Andrew from Chicago, IL

I loved Spoff's answer about weighing the balance in options present and future regarding roster construction. What's more, why would Brian Gutekunst, et al, force a decision now while newer (and better) information will be shortly arriving? If you do not incorporate current information – and are not updating your evaluations as current information becomes available – I guarantee you'll be behind your competition in short order. Let the information come to us, rather than us to it.

The thing I found most interesting about Kurt from Traverse City's question is he tried to use a business analogy before offering a prompt that no successful business would subscribe to. You want to make money today and tomorrow. Not one or the other. If anything, Gutekunst has positioned his teams better to win now based on his willingness to sign De'Vondre Campbell, Dennis Kelly and now Dallin Leavitt to augment young position groups/units.

Tracy from Little Rock, AR

Is it probable Quay Walker plays on the edge some to blow Preston Smith and Rashan Gary? I'm worried about that position group's depth.

Probable? No, but it is possible the Packers use Walker to get after the passer a little. He has the size and speed to do it. But I don't think it'll be as straightforward as him subbing in for Smith or Gary, one-for-one.

Dana from Eau Claire, WI

Really enjoy the quick videos, "Three Things," and locker room highlights! Thank you for all the great content. Haven't heard much about backup RBs, any insights into how the younger guys are doing?

I wasn't at practice Thursday, but Andy Herman mentioned Tyler Goodson had a nice day. With Patrick Taylor a little banged up right now, this next week could be huge for Goodson and B.J. Baylor heading into the first preseason game in San Francisco. Goodson was a steady, reliable running back at Iowa and should get plenty of opportunity in the exhibition season to show what he can do.

Bob from Bryn Mawr, PA

A question about the forgotten two dozen or so gentlemen in camp who do not make the final 53 or practice squad. They obviously work hard at their craft. Do they have other football options like basketball players? Could you provide a general summary of what happens to them? I am sure there are some great human-interest stories out there as well as tons of heartbreakers.

Like anything in life, some players sign elsewhere, some play in different leagues and some move on to new careers, including coaching. What I like about the expansion of the practice squad is it keeps more players in the NFL system. As good as it is to have the CFL, XFL and USFL as secondary options, it's much easier to stick in the NFL by learning your team's playbook and getting called up.

Nathan from Manitowoc, WI

Is the starting TE two years from now currently on the roster?

Yes. Some folks call him "Bobby."

Lori from Brookfield, WI

Wes, Jordy was here. In Green Bay. The long-awaited Jordy story was begging to be written and you were gone. Bummer. We missed you at Family Night, too. I hope you are enjoying Canton!

I saw that! It brought a smile to my face seeing all the Jordy-related posts, though. It's always a good day when "87" is in town.

John from Oxford, UK

They say you always remember your first QB. Being a child of the early 1970s and discovering "gridiron" as a teenager, did I get the later years of Lynn Dickey? The early years of the majestic "Majik Man?" No, I will forever have a soft spot for Randy Wright. Waiting until the Tuesday morning paper here in the UK to find out my team had lost (again) and then the weekend to read a usually short piece on the sorry tale of the week-before debacle. Happy days. See you in London!

I'm glad you have plenty to cheer for these days.

Mike from Cascade, ID

Hi II, are the Packers scouring the league to sign a backup Jugs machine? I'm surprised they only had one!

JUGS machines are like punters. There's only room for one.

Roger from Rice Lake, WI

Don't know about everyone else but getting a bit tired of the stolen lunch references. If you need filler comments, try something else for a bit.

I take it you're more of a breakfast fella?

Dan from Indianapolis, IN

Is it even legal to have half-things on "Three Things"!?!?

If Larry wants a "half thing," he's getting a half thing.

Brock from Waterloo, Canada

My girlfriend is entering her first season as a new Packer fan and wants to cook some pregame meals. She just asked me "Is cheese a thing?" How would you answer this question?

"It doesn't have to be!" Have a great weekend, everyone.