Reggie White's funeral was today. When I first heard the news, it really surprised me, and reminded me of the too young passing of former Chief Derrick Thomas. White's signing with Green Bay was the fourth and final major step that led to the Packers two mid 90s Super Bowl appearances, after signing Ron Wolf, signing Mike Holmgren, and trading for Brett Favre. There is a lot of commentary on the internet over the last week regarding Reggie White the man and player. While no one has disputed Reggie White as a great football player, many comments have been made about White has said over the years (his comments on homosexualty apparently cost him a job with CBS) and charitable activites he never actually did (failed to pay a promised donation to a charity in Denver and never rebuilt the church destroyed by fire in the mid 90s). I'm not the best person to address Reggie White the person, so I'll leave that for other websites. But Reggie White the player was dominate at times, always the first concern of every opposing offense and made the entire defense better, and the second greatest Packer player since the end of the Lombardi era.
The only regret of Reggie White's Packer career should be the way it ended. If it hadn't been the salary cap era, it would have never been a problem. But White was unsure about retirement over the entire 1997 season (he played hurt most of the season) and throughout and after the 1998 season. Ron Wolf was trying to plan for life after Reggie on defense, but needed the salary cap relief Reggie's retirement would bring after the 1998 season. New head coach Ray Rhodes asked Reggie to reconsider retirement and he appeared to be considering a return in 1999, but Ron Wolf ran out of time and had to ask Reggie to officially retire with the NFL. Reggie was NFC defensive player of the year in 1998 and obviously wanted to play again or he wouldn't have played for Carolina in 2000. Its a small regret, but it would have been great to have seen White play for the Packers in 1999 and 2000.