Wolf Visits Mini-Camp


Ron Wolf

As the Packers' second mini-camp stretched into its second day Tuesday, former general manager Ron Wolf was among those roaming the sidelines at the Don Hutson Center, there on the invitation of current GM/head coach Mike Sherman.

But Wolf suggested his presence marked nothing more than a visit, a chance to return to the familiarity of Packers football without leaving the ease of retirement behind.

"He's probably tired of reading where I say I'm not doing anything (in retirement)," Wolf joked of Sherman's invitation. "So today I stood out there and did absolutely nothing, again. But it was fun to do that."

Wolf, who joined the Packers organization in 1991 and revitalized a struggling franchise en route to eight winning seasons and one Super Bowl championship during his nine-year tenure, has insisted previously that in his first year of retirement he didn't miss the sport that has so defined him.

Tuesday he seconded those claims, suggesting that his previous compulsion for evaluating talent has faded along with his desire to do the legwork required of the present-day NFL.

"It's more just the fun of being around," he said. "It's interesting to see there's so many new faces here just in a year, which to me is so incredible, but also a sign of football today.

"The people that are going to be successful in professional football are going to be those that can adapt to this, and that's the way it's going to be from now on. It's an interesting process, and that's why young people should handle it."

Of course, even retirement can't completely diminish Wolf's radar for talent. Although one mini-camp practice isn't much to go on, Wolf said the blueprint for the current Packers team appeared sound.

"Just looking at it structurally, it looks like they are on the right track," he said. "There's no real hole here, and that's what you first start with."

Namely, Wolf noted the "exceptional" talents of Ahman Green, praised the solidarity of both the offensive and defensive lines and noted the improvements at wide receiver and tight end.

Potentially the biggest component of the Packers' upgrade at wide receiver is Terry Glenn, who was acquired from the New England Patriots in a unique deal that cost an unconditional fourth-round draft pick in the 2002 NFL Draft, plus another performance-based pick from next year's draft.

With the deal done and Glenn in mini-camp flashing his dynamic skills, it looks like an obvious move today, but Wolf expressed relief that he's no longer around to make such decisions.

"I thought that was a heck of a deal," Wolf said of the trade. "An older guy probably wouldn't have done that, but these young guys, they can do that. But for a fourth-round draft choice, that's pretty much a no-brainer."

He might not yet be a casual observer of the Packers -- he's invested too much in the organization to be only that -- but never has Wolf walked the sidelines of Packers practice with less at stake than he did Tuesday. Not only does he not need football anymore, but he's quite confident Sherman and the Packers don't need him to lead the way either.

"He has his own thing to do," Wolf said of Sherman. "I'm just like yesterday's tissue paper: down the drain. And that's the way it should be. It's his team."

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