Monday, May 17, 2010

Packers legendary QB Bart Starr becomes a doctor

Well, an honorary kind of doctor, that is.

During graduation ceremonies yesterday at St. Norbert College in De Pere, WI (neighboring community to Green Bay), legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr and his wife, Cherry, received Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees "in recognition of living as examples of the Norbertine value of service to their community," according to a news report in the Green Bay Press-Gazette about the ceremony.

No need to recount the on-field exploits and honors of the leader of the Glory Years Packers. The Hall of Famer didn't wait for retirement, however, to begin charting his works of charity. In 1965, Bart and Cherry were instrumental in helping found Rawhide Ranch, which is a faith-based, nonprofit, residential care center for troubled teen boys near New London, WI. The Starrs are still involved in fundraising and other activities for the Ranch. The Starrs have also been involved since the beginning (1970) with the Vince Lombardi Memorial Golf Classic and the Vince Lombardi Charitable Fund in its fight against cancer.

Good folks doing very good work indeed. Nice of St. Norbert College to recognize the Starrs' years of service to the wider community. What's so special about St. Norbert College? For those who don't know, it has hosted the Packers summer training camp since the days of Lombardi himself. And, it is also one of the premier liberal arts colleges in the Midwest if not the nation.

But the college's connection with the Packers runs deeper than just that. They are joining together to present “A Mirror of Our Culture: Sport and Society in America," a three-day event running May 26-28, that, according to the website, "provides opportunities for sports academics and professionals working in sports-related fields to network and to share their expertise about American sports." Among those attending and speaking: Paul Tagliabue, former Commissioner (CEO) of the National Football League, and Carl Vogel, Partner of SCP Worldwide, who will "give major addresses offering their perspective on 'Sports in America' and 'The Future of American Sports.' Dr. Robert Kustra, President of Boise State University, will be presenting 'Modern College Athletics: A View from the Top.' Also, Kevin B. Blackistone of ESPN’s 'Around the Horn' and the Philip Merrill College of Journalism at the University of Maryland, will be speaking on 'Race and Sports in America.'"

Registration runs through May 19.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Packers wrap up successful Tailgate Tour

Last evening marked the fourth and final stop on this year's edition of the Packers Tailgate Tour. Packers President Mark Murphy and players Chad Clifton, Nick Collins, James Jones and John Kuhn spent this last week seeing a lot of the state of Wisconsin they might not normally see...or even know existed outside of Green Bay and Milwaukee: Rhinelander, Chippewa Falls and Reedsburg. They visited schools, businesses and even the Leinenkugel Brewery. Their final stop in Milwaukee was the Harley-Davidson Museum for a gathering with fans.

But before that event kicked off, they made a surprise stop at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Miller Park (home of the Brewers) in Milwaukee.

Whether in the hinterlands of Wisconsin, at the Veterans Center, or in the heart of Harley-land in downtown Milwaukee, the players and team President made a great impression on fans. In fact, they even may have picked up a few new fans along the way. But don't take my word for it. Check out this article and see for yourself.

This is why we're Packer fans. Great guys and a great organization. Not just now. Always.

Go Pack Go!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Aaron Rodgers hosting charity event May 17 in Milwaukee

Aaron Rodgers is hosting a fundraising event for the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) on Monday evening, May 17th, at Mo's-A Place for Steak in Milwaukee. The event will run from 6:30-9:30 p.m.

According to the official press release about the event, "Space is limited and tickets are selling well, so please don’t delay. We don’t want you to be disappointed. Please contact the MACC Fund at 414-456-5830 to purchase tickets. The tickets are $200 each and include food stations, an open bar, tax, gratuity and a generous donation to the MACC Fund. The MACC Fund has reasonably estimated the goods and services received by a contributor to this event to be $100 and therefore $100 per purchased ticket is tax-deductible as a charitable contribution to the full extent allowed by law." It is also noted that "all guests must be at least 21 years of age. Photography, video or audio recording will not be allowed."

The release continues, "Proceeds of the 'Evening With Aaron Rodgers' will help the MACC Fund continue to support pediatric cancer and blood-disorder research in Wisconsin like it has since 1976. The $36 million which the MACC Fund has donated to research over 33 years impacts research here and across the nation as seen by increased cure rates for childhood cancer rising from 20% to 80%. The MACC Fund supports cutting edge research in the 6-story MACC Fund Research Center of the Medical College of Wisconsin, in the 14,000 square foot MACC Fund Childhood Cancer Research Wing of the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center and in the MACC Fund Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin."

So, if you are in the Milwaukee area and can make it, this would be a great event and cause to support. Obviously, by committing his name and time to this event, Rodgers also thinks so.

If you want to hear Rodgers talk a bit about this event, as well as some of his thoughts about last season, the playoffs, and what's coming up this season, you can hear his on-air interview from this evening with 620wtmj radio's Bill Michaels by clicking here. Note that the podcast will open in a separate window.

Lambeau Field to host Vietnam Vets tribute

On the weekend of May 21-23, Lambeau Field will become "LZ Lambeau™," as in" Landing Zone Lambeau."

According to the press release, this event is "part of the larger Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories project, (and) will honor the service and sacrifice of thousands of Vietnam veterans, and finally, formally, thank them and welcome them home." An estimated 100,000 Vietnam and Vietnam-era veterans, their families and members of the public are expected for a weekend of reunions, exhibits and activities.

The press release states: "The events will culminate in a tribute inside Lambeau Field Saturday evening, May 22, 2010. Beginning at 7:30 p.m., the Saturday evening event will feature military flyovers, music, excerpts from the new public television documentary Wisconsin Vietnam War Stories, a tribute to the 1,244 KIA and MIA Wisconsin soldiers and a formal 'Thank you and welcome home' from Gov. Jim Doyle.

"For safety and security, tickets are needed to attend the Saturday evening tribute inside Lambeau Field. Tickets are free to Vietnam veterans and $10 for others. There is a $2 charge for processing each ticket. For tickets, call 1.800.895.0071 or visit

"All other activities for the LZ Lambeau™ weekend are free and open to the public. Those activities include:
  • On Friday, May 21 a motorcycle honor ride of Wisconsin Vietnam veterans will travel across the state from La Crosse to Green Bay arriving at Lambeau mid-afternoon. Vietnam-era aircraft will fly cover over the bikers as they make their way along the final stretch of the ride.
  • The Moving Wall™ - the traveling replica of the Vietnam War Memorial
  • Education Day on Friday, May 21 - High school classes visit The Moving Wall™ and museum exhibits set up on the grounds and in the Lambeau Field Atrium
  • Exhibits of Vietnam-era military ground vehicles and aircraft
  • Music, speakers and reunions"
If you are in the area, or moved to support this effort in some way, check out the website, or call 1.800.895.0071 for more information.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Colledge signs & other Packers news

Playing a bit of catch up here, folks. Basically, other than the rookie orientation weekend and tryouts, not much happening since the conclusion of the NFL Draft as far as the Pack goes.

Yes, guard Daryn Colledge signed his tender offer with the team yesterday, which means he will finally re-join his teammates in offseason workouts. As a restricted free agent, the deal keeps Colledge around for one more year. After that, it's possible some of the new kids picked up in this year's draft may make Colledge expendable unless he ramps up his performance.

Colledge was arguably considered the weakest link on the starting O-line, at least after Clifton and Tauscher resumed their play at left and right tackles respectively. It is possible that Colledge will also be in a battle to keep his current starting role this season as reports are that the Pack want to try Jason Spitz at left guard. You'll recall that last season Spitz beat out then-starter Scott Wells for the center spot before sustaining an injury that took him out of the line up. If Wells is back at center, Spitz could definitely challenge Colledge for the starting slot at left guard. And with the depth of current and new players across the line, Colledge's days may be numbered unless his play lives up to his talk. It's also possible that a team in need of a serviceable guard might be willing to make a trade for Colledge at some point, probably for a lower round draft pick. If GM Ted Thompson feels there is sufficient depth on the line if and when such a possibility arises don't be surprised to see Ted add to his future draft pick war chest...we all know how much he likes those.

After Colledge's signing, the only remaining restricted free agents left unsigned are safety Atari Bigby, defensive end Johnny Jolly and cornerback Tramon Williams. Because the April 15 deadline for them to sign offer sheets with other teams came and went, they are bound to the Packers unless the team releases them. That won't happen, obviously.

Post-Draft Tidbits
Following the rookie weekend and free agent tryouts, a couple stories for you to check out.

One has to do with the import from north of the border...Canadian border, that is: Shawn Gore. The rookie receiver came in for a tryout with the Packers, despite the fact that he was at the same time being drafted in the second round of the Canadian Football League draft. He would have been a sure fire first-rounder except for the fact that all the CFL teams knew he was trying out with the Pack and didn't want to waste a first round pick on someone that might be playing in the NFL instead.

Gore's bet paid off: he was one of only three players offered a contract by the Packers following the tryout weekend. And based upon his size, speed and ability, Gore has a good chance of sticking with the team, even in a highly competitive receiving corps. Read more about him here.

Shields a returner?
Seemingly since...who can remember?...the Packers have been searching for a reliable and effective punt and/or kickoff returner. They may have found one in undrafted rookie free agent CB Sam Shields out of Miami. Very fast. Check out the story here.

OTAs begin May 17
The Packers' first organized team activities (OTAs) of the 2010 season begin next week. While optional, expect most all players to attend. We'll update you on anything of importance that happens during that week.

Packers Tailgate Tour underway
The four-stop 2010 Green Bay Packers Tailgate Tour hits the road tonight (May 11) in Rhinelander and ends Friday May 14 in Milwaukee (at the Harley-Davidson Museum, no less) with stops in Chippewa Falls and Reedsburg in between. The tour gets players and execs out to the fans "with evening tailgate parties held in each city to support a local non-profit organization," as the press release goes.

You can learn more -- and still get tickets at least in one or two instances -- here.