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Jerry Kramer’s ‘life of quality and excellence’ leads him to the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Posted by linchao 
After nearly five decades of waiting Cheap Kevin King Jersey , legendary Green Bay Packers guard Jerry Kramer finally received his moment in the sun and was formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Kramer finally got the call in 2018 after previously being nominated ten times. His enshrinement marked the end of an odyssey that nobody really expected to last this long.In fact, Kramer’s credentials for enshrinement were so impeccable you can easily argue he should have gotten his gold jacket years ago. Kramer is a five-team All-Pro selection, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, and until this season was the only remaining member of the NFL’s 50th Anniversary team not enshrined in Canton.Introduced by his daughter Alicia, who waged a social media campaign to get Packers fans to rally behind her father’s candidacy, Kramer took a moment to look back. He reflected upon his long journey to the hall fame during his enshrinement speech, starting all the way back in his high school days at Sand Point High in Idaho.“This clumsy ox sophomore showed up for practice one fall, and I couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I was just a mess,” Kramer recalled. “I wanted to be a fullback. I didn’t want to be a lineman.”Well, plans changed almost immediately when the coach told Kramer he’d be riding the bench as fullback, but if he played offensive line he would start.Kramer obviously didn’t want to spend time as a benchwarmer, so the offensive line it was and that put him on path that led him to Canton.Kramer mentioned his high school offensive line coach who came up to him at one practice when he was struggling.“He said, ‘son you have big hands and you have big feet and one of these days, you will grow into them. You’re going to be a hell of a player one of these days.”It was then that coach gave him words of wisdom that would go on to define his enshrinement speech: “You can if you will.”Kramer then went on to the University of Idaho where he didn’t see much success from a team standpoint (their best record was 4-4-1), but it was there where he learned what being part of a team meant. “The feeling of team is a wonderful thing. The reason I think most of us play is there is a team there and we want to be part of a team.”After leaving the University of Idaho, Kramer was drafted in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Kramer found out where he was going from classmate Wayne Walker, who would later go on to play with the Detroit Lions for 15 years.The NFL Draft was nowhere near the event and spectacle that it is today.When Walker told Kramer he was drafted in the fourth round, Kramer was pleased.Walker then told Kramer drafted him and Kramer said “Green Bay鈥?Green Bay鈥?Where the hell is Green Bay?”They went and got a map and finally found out where it was.Kramer then got a lesson in NFL contract negotiations.When the Packers called him to talk contract, Kramer did not know what other players were making as that information was not readily available as it is today.The Packers ended up signing Kramer when he offered to play for $8000 after consulting with a college coach who told him to ask for $7000.Realizing what happened, Kramer asked for signing bonus of which Green Bay offered $250 which he then accepted.After he received his first game check, Kramer saw a $250 dollar deduction to which the Packers told him “that was an advance, not a bonus.”Kramer did not find immediate success with the Packers. They went 1-10-1, which to this day is still the worst record in the storied franchise’s history.“We played the Baltimore Colts one Sunday afternoon. They beat us 56-0,” Kramer said. “They had a white colt that ran around the field every time they scored. We damn near killed it.”Coach Lombardi arrived the next season and Kramer said “the world turned around.”One of the first things Kramer recalls Lombardi telling the team was that if people were not willing to make the sacrifices needed, they needed to “get the hell out.” Players initially didn’t think it was going to be that bad under Lombardi, but that quickly changed when the legendary coach began working players harder than they had ever been worked before in their lives.“We had guys losing consciousness every practice, every exercise session. One kid showered after practice, got on the bus to the dormitories, went to the line and town hall, passed out and fell over,” Kramer noted.Kramer also remembered that players were not always receptive to Lombardi’s philosophical statements, but called it “an incredible experience to be with him and have him bring you along.”He noted that the coach could be “both very, very harsh and very, very gentle.”He specifically remembered one practice where the offense was being stuffed consistently during a goal line drill and one time he jumped offside and went to the sideline where Lombardi was waiting and the guard got an earful from his head coach.“Mister, the concentration period of a college student is five minutes http://www.packerscheapstore.com/nick-perry-jersey-cheap , high school is three minutes, kindergarten is thirty seconds and you don’t have that?! So where does that put you?!” Kramer said, raising his voice. Kramer was dejected.When practice was over, he went to the locker room and was fully expecting to be cut.Kramer was deep in thought when Lombardi walked into the locker room, found Kramer, and told him “Son, one of these days you’re going to be the best guard in football.”That “surge of energy” Kramer said he felt after receiving Lombardi’s “approval and belief” propelled him the rest of his career and his life. The Packers then started winning under Lombardi and they won a lot. They won NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. A dynasty was forming and a team for the history books was beginning to emerge.Kramer then soon faced one of the darkest periods of his professional careerIn the 1965 season, Kramer had nine operations and his weight went down to 189 lbs at one point during the offseason. He got up to 218 lbs and went to Lombardi to talk contract. The coach offered to send Kramer home, but the guard refused. Lombardi relented and tried to put Kramer on defense but he was so winded after running a lap and a half around the field (they were supposed to run three)he could barely breathe.Kicker Don Chandler came over and offered to run the other lap and a half for Kramer.Chandler continued to offered to finish Kramer’s workouts for him when Kramer couldn’t complete himself, saying “I’m a kicker,and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to,” according to Kramer.“A great part of my life followed that probably would not have happened without Don Chandler,” Kramer sid.The Packers of course went on to win titles in the 1965, 1966 and 1967 seasons. Kramer feels like he was fortunate to be just a part of it. “We (had) a wonderful team that played as a team and lived as a team and enjoyed one another as a team,” he said.Kramer closed his speech by quoting Lombardi. “Lead a life of quality and excellence and make this whole world a better place because you were in it,”With that, a 45-year odyssey for the legendary guard came to an end and he walked off into the sunset of football immortality.Which free agent ILBs might tempt Packers GM Brian Gutekunst? The Green Bay Packers suddenly have a gaping hole at inside linebacker. Jake Ryan’s torn ACL opened up a starting job next to Blake Martinez and although the team has a host of athletic and talented players vying to replace him — including third-round rookie Oren Burks — sometimes experience is a necessity.The Packers have options to fill in for Ryan in the passing game, with Burks and second-year pro Ahmad Thomas both impressing in coverage to this point. However, bringing a thump in the run game and filling in for Ryan’s special teams contributions are factors that might necessitate an outside move.Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine even alluded to the possibility of bringing aboard a veteran linebacker in his Wednesday press conference. “We’re going to get together as a staff later this week when we talk about the roster and kind of where we are moving forward what our needs are. And I know there’s certainly open lines of communication with the personnel department,” Pettine said.This begs the question: what veteran linebackers are even on the market? One name that came up on Thursday is Navorro Bowman, the former All-Pro who spent most of his career in San Francisco. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero mentioned that the Packers have been discussing Bowman, but there appear to be no firm plans as yet.Still, it’s worth looking at what players are available to see who might tempt general manager Brian Gutekunst to make a move. Here are a handful of the bigger names on the market — though it’s a market that appears to have little in the way of intriguing players at this point in the preseason.Navorro BowmanFirst up is of course Bowman, a four-time first-team All-Pro with the 49ers. The 2010 third-round pick was a staple of Vic Fangio’s defense for several years, even being an All-Pro in 2015 after he missed the entire previous season due to a shredded knee that he suffered in the postseason the year before.In 2017, Bowman started the year with San Francisco, but he ended up not being a great fit in the new 4-3 scheme and he was costing a huge amount of money. Thus, GM John Lynch elected to release him as a favor to him, giving him the freedom to find a new team for the remainder of the season. Bowman signed quickly with the Raiders, for whom he started ten games with an interception and a fumble recovery.Bowman likely wouldn’t sign for the league minimum, but he’s 30 years old and would probably love an opportunity to make a playoff run. Perhaps Green Bay would indeed be a fit for him.Verdict: An intriguing player, but he probably would command some guaranteed money up front.Brian CushingA teammate of Clay Matthews’ at USC, Cushing was a nine-year starter for the Houston Texans before the team released him in February. However, he comes with massive baggage; he has been suspended for PEDs twice, including a ten-game ban last fall. That limited him to just five games in 2017 http://www.packerscheapstore.com/davante-adams-jersey-cheap , over which time he made just 16 total tackles and had 1.5 sacks. Ultimately, there’s way too much baggage here to imagine the Packers taking a flier on him.Verdict: Nope. Just nope.Karlos DansbyThe oldest player on this list, Dansby will turn 37 in November and has been in the NFL since 2004. However, he still started 15 games for the Arizona Cardinals last year (his third stint with that team) and he has a few notable Packers connections.First, he played with Tramon Williams in Arizona a year ago, but he also had experience playing for Pettine in Cleveland, serving as the middle linebacker during Pettine’s two years as the Browns’ head coach. The Packers could do worse than this 14-year veteran if they simply need to fill Ryan’s shoes in the running game for 20-25 snaps per game.Verdict: Could adequately fill the need on a veteran minimum dealMichael WilhoiteAnother former 49er, Wilhoite was a key special teams player early in his career before taking over as a full-time starter for two years in 2014-15. The last two years he has started part-time, still in San Francisco in 2016 then in Seattle last year with the Seahawks.As far as veterans go, Wilhoite might be the best option for filling in for Ryan as both a part-time defensive player and a contributor on special teams. Then again, there’s no real reason to think he would be better than the young players competing for spots on the roster right now. That said, there would be little to no guaranteed money involved, so the team could release him at the end of camp without any financial impact.Verdict: Bringing Wilhoite in to compete would be a low-risk move, but the potential reward is also minimal.Kelvin SheppardThis journeyman has made four stops in his NFL career, starting at least one game in every one of this seven seasons and at least six games in six of those seven years. In addition, he’s getting workouts — in fact, he was just in Detroit this week trying out for a job.However, while spending the last two seasons with the New York Giants, Sheppard has been a pretty sure tackler, tying for first among 2018 free agent inside linebackers in Pro Football Focus’ tackling efficiency measurement for the 2017 season. That said, PFF’s grading has been unkind to him in the run game, as he hasn’t eclipsed a 45 grade in that area for the last three years.Verdict: Could contribute a few snaps per game, but he’s essentially a replacement-level player.Eric ReidHear me out.Sure, Reid is theoretically a safety, but he essentially played the Will linebacker spot for most of last season in San Francisco and could do so again in Green Bay. Regardless of anyone’s personal politics regarding his kneeling during the national anthem, his quality of play is absolutely deserving of a spot on an NFL roster.Sure, he’s a similar type of player to Josh Jones, but that’s a role that’s valuable in today’s NFL — not to mention that it’s the kind of player that Mike Pettine would love to have on his defense. He could even help to bolster both the inside linebacker and safety positions simultaneously if Kentrell Brice is out for any length of time.Personally, I have no problem with Reid, but even if I did, I would have to acknowledge that his talent and versatility would be a big help for this defense. And at this point, he probably would accept a pretty low salary in order to just get a shot to make it on the field.Verdict: Do it, Gutey.
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