Ron Wolf says money led Reggie White to Green Bay

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In 1993, the Packers transformed the perception and reality of the franchise by landing the first big fish (and perhaps biggest fish ever) in free agency:  Reggie White.

Much has been said about how White landed in Green Bay, from God telling White to go there to former coach Mike Holmgren leaving a message with White that said, “Reggie, this is God.  Go to Green Bay.”

Appearing on Friday’s edition of PFT Live of NBC Sports Radio, former Packers G.M. Ron Wolf acknowledged the one thing that sealed the deal:  Money.  As in the Packers offered White the most of it.

And so at a time when many scoff at the potential connection between big spending and big winning, the first big-money free agent in the salary-cap era made a major impact in Green Bay, culminating in a Super Bowl win.  Teams should keep that in mind when drawing up their budgets for the coming spending spree — especially with a talent like Ndamukong Suh destined to hit the market.

Meanwhile, to hear the full interview with new Hall of Famer Ron Wolf, click the link, select PFT Live, and choose hour three from the February 6 show.

79 responses to “Ron Wolf says money led Reggie White to Green Bay

  1. And here for years we’ve been hearing the fairy-tale version of Reggie spurning the smug 49ers because they were just that — smug — to go to the underdog Packers, the more earnest Packers, the ones who won his heart. Right!

  2. Is this any kind of a surprise? This guy wasn’t all what he appeared. Had a few scams himself.

  3. Was there a long list of people who thought it was anything other than money that got him to Green Bay?

    I don’t know anybody who thought Reggie thought God “told him to go to Green Bay” … any more than I believe in Madden’s belief that the busts in Canton all share war stories when the lights go out at night and everybody leaves.

  4. Money obviously was a big factor, but Wolf also told Reggie, “In San Francisco you’ll be a Hall of Famer. In Green bay you’ll be a legend.”

  5. Yeah, I’m pretty sure we always all knew that by “God”, Reggie meant “money” lead him to Green Bay. Not really a shocker news story here …

  6. I would love to see a debate between Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson on how free agency should work….

    They may be able to get that scheduled since the Green Bay offices are closed until the draft on April 30th

  7. Suh shouldn’t be used in the same sentence as White. He’s a great player, but his dirty play and lack of leadership have proven he can hurt his team just as much as he can help.

  8. Is this any kind of a surprise? This guy wasn’t all what he appeared. Had a few scams himself.
    ____________________________________

    Such as?…………Bold words with no facts.

  9. As a Packer fan who remembers the dark days only too well I don’t care if it was money or god that drew Reggie to GB. I still remember that day I found out he was coming there I just about fell out of my chair.

  10. When it happened Reggie said it was God that led him to the Packers. This means that money is his God, which we figured all along.

  11. paulieorkid says:
    Feb 8, 2015 1:35 PM
    … any more than I believe in Madden’s belief that the busts in Canton all share war stories when the lights go out at night and everybody leaves.
    ———————————–
    Like those floating heads/masks in that ‘Goosebumps’ episode?

  12. rosstuckershair says:
    Feb 8, 2015 1:39 PM
    I would love to see a debate between Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson on how free agency should work….
    ——————————-
    Ron only had LeRoy Butler and Sterling Sharpe who commanded cap room early in his tenure, everyone else was expendable.

    So he had plenty of cap room to buy on Reggie Whites and Keith Jacksons.

    When the team’s talent level increased and Franchise players had to be paid, Ron “mysteriously” stopped the spending spree.

  13. Reggie White is an extreme case of the positive impact a free agent can have. Teams should also keep in mind the other extreme: guys like Albert Haynesworth.

  14. People come to Green Bay because they want a shot at a Super Bowl championship.

    Of course the money is a factor, but it’s a secondary factor.

  15. Why didn’t Reggie just tell the truth then he chose the Packers? Why use “GOD” as your supposed guiding force when it was the almighty dollar all along? Reggie White was a hypocrite.

  16. I thought players went to green bay only because it was the best place in the world, the greatest football team in history. Someone played there just for the money? Been a rough year of reality for packer fans.

  17. There is one major difference. Green Bay had over 30 million in cap space to start the year with when they signed White. Most of his contract was front loaded with signing bonuses (his base salary was only over 3 million once). Suh is going to want “elite QB” money, like Watt got.

  18. I watched Reggie’s entire Career. Don’t paint him as a Saint on the field of play. He was plenty dirty when it was called for! More so in Philly under Coaching Ryan. Nonetheless, I do not have a problem with Reggie playing on the edge. Actually I would rather have a player with a little Nasty and Mean in him then a Quire Boy! Any fan of any team that says they wouldn’t want Sui, because of his so called ” Dirty Play” lol,, is not being truthful! I’ll take Sui on my team twice on Sunday!

  19. His wife said on “A Football Life” that he wanted to stay with the Eagles, but they didn’t offer him a contract. I’d tend to believe Mrs White.

  20. nickdamjanovic says:
    Feb 8, 2015 1:35 PM
    And here for years we’ve been hearing the fairy-tale version of Reggie spurning the smug 49ers because they were just that — smug — to go to the underdog Packers, the more earnest Packers, the ones who won his heart. Right!
    ___________________

    I am having difficulty understanding how any part of that wasn’t true. To this day.

  21. There’s a lot of people calling Reggie a “hypocrite” or a phony for saying God told him to go to Greenbay. He did say that but I also remember seeing an interview with him where he laughed and admitted the money was the best as well. We all knew the deal and Reggie did too. I don’t think we need to act like he was a criminal for invoking God.

    The real story is that for people too young to remember his heyday, he was an absolute monster on the field. There’s been nobody like him since. People talk about guys like Suh. Give me a break. He’s not in White’s league at all.

  22. Even as a bears fan. Please never mention donkey kong suh in the same article as The Great Reggie White.

    Unless you are discussing the polar opposite of two players in class and lack of it.

  23. … he was an absolute monster on the field.
    —————————-
    And he was a minister off the field. That’s why the “God told me to go to Green Bay” story has credibility.

    If Reggie believed it, it’s good enough for me.

  24. In Philly, those of us who found room in our brains to hate the owner AND see through White’s charade, knew that White was all about the money long before he struck a deal with God and Green Bay.

    Anytime someone stuck a mic in front of him to ask him about football, he always steered the discussion towards money. Always.

  25. In Philly, the educated % amongst our fanbase know that Norman Braman did not offer Reggie White an extension.

    You could also understand the dislike for him amongst ownership considering he was part of the lawsuit against the NFL, to push for free agency. And he started in the anti-NFL USFL league. You still got old-school guys like Mike Brown & Bud Adams owning teams today. What do you think those old school guys thought of players like Reggie? Braman was just another rich cheapskate. You do remember that, right? Do you think we had Astroturf above concrete because we wanted that? And we are to think less of Reggie White because he went to a high dollar offer and no counter offer from Philly? Reggie White took the high road. It’s called class. He could’ve easily aired his grievances in public. And what would’ve been accomplished by that?

    Braman, dude. It’s all on Braman.

  26. So what? I could care less if the went for the money. That’s his right and a funny voicemail. Honestly does this change the guys perception?

  27. @purpleguy…no, there’s no law against being religious and rich. But for Christians, and White was one (and he never stopped letting us know about it, so holier than thou was he), there is the small matter of the 7 deadly sins, one of which…is GREED.

    So then there’s this other matter of being a hypocrite, and White was one (and he never stopped making that obvious, despite his claims of being such a holy man).

  28. wiskybuck says: Feb 8, 2015 1:44 PM

    Suh shouldn’t be used in the same sentence as White. He’s a great player, but his dirty play and lack of leadership have proven he can hurt his team just as much as he can help.

    Really? Because I saw every Lions game this year and I’m pretty sure he helped the team WAY more than he hurt them. In fact I’m pretty sure he was the biggest reason that they were one of the top defenses in the league. It’s fine if you don’t like Suh personally but if that’s the case just say so. Don’t make ridiculous, untrue statements.

    bearmeat81 says: Feb 8, 2015 1:37 PM

    Comparing White’s talent, character, and work ethic to Suh’s is like comparing the GDP of Tanzania to China’s.

    If you knew anything about Suh you would know that he has one of the strongest work ethics of any player in the NFL and he is as at least as talented and probably more so than White was. Obviously another case of someone who personally dislikes Suh because your statement is patently false.

  29. cobrala2 says:
    Feb 8, 2015 3:29 PM

    You still got old-school guys like Mike Brown & Bud Adams owning teams today.

    ——————————————-

    Hibernation?

  30. 1986 4-12, 1987 5-9 (strike year), 1988 4-12, 1989 10-6, 1990 6-10, 1991 4-12, 1992 9-7. Green Bay no guarantee of a championship. Every team was willing to break the bank for him. Maybe GB offered a little more but everyone knew, after years of greatness and disappointment in Philly, that Reggie wanted a ring more than anything. So we were all shocked that he chose GB over SF. But no one was shocked when he said he prayed and believed God wanted him in GB. It was totally consistent with his life. His nickname was Ministrr of Defense. I don’t know why people are suddenly takinv Wolfe’s comment to revise history.

  31. reggie white was a way better player than suh is. point blank. and he was never put his ego ahead of his team by committing stupid dirty dangerous fouls and getting suspended.

    suh loses his composure on a regular basis and is one violation from a more lengthy suspension.

    thus, his free agent status (or potential value) is not comparable to reggie white.

  32. Reggie wasn’t going to work for free.

    God sustains the soul, cash covers the bills.

    I was at work when I heard that Reggie had signed with Green Bay. I figured it had to be some kind of mistake in the reporting.

    I had to wait until I got home to watch the 6 o’clock news to get confirmation.

  33. f1restarter says:
    Feb 8, 2015 2:17 PM
    People come to Green Bay because they want a shot at a Super Bowl championship.

    Of course the money is a factor, but it’s a secondary factor…
    —————-

    Green Bay only signs street and college free agents. Then only uses the draft. Eastablished NFL players don’t come there out of choice, and TT is never calling.

    In a recent poll, Green Bay the the 5th least desirable location to go for an NFL free agent, behind Oakland, Buffalo, Jacksonville and Cleveland…

  34. I’m guessing by some of the comments he made to the legislature, his lack of tolerance and respect for different people made Green Bay a more appropriate choice as well.

  35. I read where an analyst was saying Suh would be a huge find for the Packers. Take him out of Detroit and boister that pass rush and run defense.
    I th0ught that isn’t a dumb idea either. Shore up that D line and solve a big problem.

  36. ” I don’t think we need to act like he was a criminal for invoking God.”

    No one is treating him as a criminal, just a hypocrite. He originally maintained that he went to Green Bay due to some guiding light or higher power telling him that is where he should be. The higher power was money, no matter if later on, knowing he looked like a humongous hypocrite, he changed his tune.

  37. I think this is faulty logic, Reggie White is an exception that proves the rule, and the rule is big money spent on Free Agents is often times wasted and can kill a teams Salary Cap and the players rarely live up to their hype and justify the money. How often are the “winners” of Free Agency the teams that are perpetual losers? If success were found in free agency you would not be reaching this far back to find a game changing free agent, you would rather give us modern examples. Free Agency is a craps shoot at best, that’s why the perennial winners draft and develop not chase overpriced older players in Free Agency.

    Also it should be noted in 1993 when Reggie signed his deal the Salary Cap did not exist in the NFL and did not happen until the next year. So it was a totally different era with less downside.

  38. I’m sure Ted Thompson would love to sign Suh if he could afford him . I’m NOT sure Suh would want to play for the Packers. I think he is looking for a bigger stage like New York or LA IF the Raiders can secure a move there.

  39. Who is Ron Wolfe to speak to another man’s motivation. Just because GB maybe offered a little more money (is this even true?) does not mean that has to be the only reason he chose GB. Reggie White took several days to decide and said he felt God wanted him in GB. Reggie White is dead. Who does Wolfe think he is to essentially call a dead man a liar, knowing White can’t defend himself? Completely out of line. Reggie believed he would win his ring by going to a team that had one winning record in 10 years rather than a team that had 3 rings in the previous 7 years. And his faith was rewarded.

    That said, he probably would have had more than one ring uf he went to San Francisco. But that’s beside the point.

  40. Most of the biggest FA money deals turn out to be bad. Look at Craig Jennings, he signed for the most money only to discover that your team needs a qB, who knew? (most Viking fans are still trying to figure that out)

  41. Reggie White’s widow, Kurt Warner and Brenda Warner would all freely tell you that Tebow made way more Christian converts than Reggie and Kurt. It’s not even close!

  42. It was an honor to watch this man play. That forearm chuck he put on O Lineman was so powerful and away he went to the QB. Incredible !

  43. To make the story complete, Wolf had the $$$$$$ to throw around to get White because BOB HARLAN, from 1989 onward – after taking over as president, built new revenue streams for the Packers. Before Harlan fired Braatz and handed the football operations over to Wolf, he spent those three years from 1989-1992 on non-football operations – creating those revenue streams and building newer facilities. The whole Packer turnaround begins with Bob Harlan. Even after Harlan followed Wolf’s recommendation to give the GM chair to Mike Sherman, which was a big mistake, Harlan stripped Sherman and hired Ted Thompson. Pretty much everything since 1992 for the Packers – Wolf, Holmgren, Favre, and White on through to Rodgers, Lacy, Nelson, and Matthews begins with Bob Harlan. He’s on the level of Lambeau and Lombardi as far as I am concerned. He also should be in the HOF as a contributor.

  44. It’s really quite simple. God told Reggie to read the dollar number on all of the contracts.

  45. I think people judge by what they know… Self Greed, false ridicule, dishonesty to self and others, lying, cheating, exaggerating etc,,. It has been said, very shortly our life will be taken like a thief in the night, we will go in front of our maker and testify to how our tongue defiles us. I feel sorry for people who have to attack a man of faith who lived an honorable life and died. That’s the epitome of a coward.

  46. FACT The Eagles made no contract offer to Reggie at all,I am still a season ticket holder how hates that now almost as much as I did then,I enjoyed his career in Philly he was a dominating player

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