Friday, August 12, 2011

Thoughts on Packers' Chandler, White House visit, and more

News hit on Thursday that kicker Don Chandler, from the legendary Lombardi teams of the 1960s, had died in Tulsa, OK, after fighting cancer. He was 76 years of age.

As the great article in yesterday's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by Tyler Dunne noted, Chandler was instrumental in the Glory Years teams' playoff and championship runs. He may not have received all the credit he was due at the time, but his fellow teammates knew exactly how important he was to the teams' successess, especially in clutch situations. Read the article for comments from Chandler's teammates such as Zeke Bratkowski and Carroll Dale which reiterate that fact.

On a personal note, I remember as a kid that there was some kind of Don Chandler kicking instruction booklet being marketed (does this date me???). As a regular Punt-Pass-Kick participant (and sometime winner) back in the day, I remember reading, studying and practicing that straight-on kicking style until my leg hurt. helped. Didn't get me to the pros. But was like taking personal instruction from a member of the Green Bay Packers. Didn't get any better than that. Well, except for meeting Ray Nitschke and other Packers when they'd do their winter basketball games versus local high school teachers. (Wouldn't it have been nice if that was part of the new collective bargaining agreement? Players must play at least three charity benefit basketball games within their locale during the offseason. Ah, to dream...)

Pack visits White House
Today was the long-awaited official visit of the Super Bowl Champions to the White House. It was somewhat of a scenic route journey for the Pack as they head to Cleveland for their first preseason game of this new season Saturday night.

Of course, this visit was especially sweet as President Obama is a fan of Da Bearz. Which, for those with short-term memory issues, is the team the Packers beat in the NFC Championship -- in Chicago -- to earn the trip to the Super Bowl. QB Aaron Rodgers presented the President with a Packers jersey with the number "1" on it and "CommanderinChief" as the name on the back. CB Charles Woodson, who declared in the Packers locker room that if the President wouldn't come to see them in the Super Bowl (as he had said he'd do if Da Bearz had won the NFC) then the Packers would go see him. And thus it came to pass. Woodson presented the President with a minority shareholder certificate for the Packers. Upon receiving it, the President joked (as he did frequently during the visit) that now that he was an owner he'd like to trade Aaron Rodgers to Da Bearz. Ouch! That had to hurt, eh, Jay Cutler? Major dis from the Prez. Gotta love it.

One ex-Packer makes the White House cut, one current player doesn't
One nice touch by the Packers was including recently-released veteran Mark Tauscher as part of the travelling party. Tauscher, as all fans know, spent his entire professional playing career with the Packers. He's apparently undecided yet as to whether he will try to resume his career elsewhere or retire. If there's any player that deserved to be there -- even if he's not currently on the roster -- it's Tauscher. Nice move, Packers.

But one current Packers player, Desmond Bishop, was not allowed in the White House even though he made the trip. The glitch, according to a Tweet by Bishop, was that he had forgotten his photo ID on the plane. Without it, there was no admittance past the White House security. Oops! Well, Bishop took it in stride, noting that he'd be sure to have it with him the next time the Packers visit the White House. Which all Packer fans, of course, believe will be at the end of this football season.

Ahman Green retires
Some may have thought this already happened, given Green's waning career in lesser leagues. But he wanted to retire as a Packer. To that end, the Packers signed Green to a one-day contract, as is usual in these situations, so Green could go out in style with the team for which he is the all-time leading rusher. Congrats, Mr. Green. See you in the Packers Hall of Fame.