ONLY Reggie White
could turn a football game into a religious experience. Standing 6'5", 291
pounds, he seemed a god among men, and the breathless souls who had to face him
always spoke of his strength and speed with reverence. As one of the greatest
defensive ends in NFL history, White leaves an enduring football legacy: He
retired in 2000 as the career leader in sacks after 15 seasons with
Philadelphia, Green Bay and Carolina, was a two-time NFL Defensive Player of
the Year and was elected to the Pro Bowl for a record 13 consecutive years.
"He may have been the best player I've ever seen and certainly was the best
I've ever played with or against," said Brett Favre.
But to those who
were lucky enough to share the field with White, he will always be something
much more: A friend. A role model. A spiritual mentor. Lost forever, on Dec.
26, 2004, at age 43 to a respiratory ailment, he is now, in the eyes of some,
the franchise player on the ultimate team. Said Todd Scott, a former NFL
defensive back, "He was a lottery pick when it comes to being drafted into
SENT PACKING RARE
WAS THE QUARTERBACK THAT WHITE COULDN'T TAKE DOWN.
ON BENDED KNEE
DUBBED THE MINISTER OF DEFENSE FOR HIS INTENSE PLAY AND RELIGIOUS CONVICTION,
WHITE NEVER SHIED FROM SHARING HIS FAITH. HERE HE LEADS A FLOCK OF EAGLES IN
PRAYER ON THE SUPERDOME TURF AFTER A 36-20 PHILADELPHIA PLAYOFF VICTORY OVER
NEW ORLEANS ON JAN. 3, 1993.
WHITE'S BRUTE STRENGTH AND BLAZING SPEED MADE HIM A LOAD FOR OFFENSIVE LINEMEN
TO HANDLE ONE-ON-ONE. HE NIPPED THE BRONCOS FOR 1� SACKS IN THIS 28-24 WIN AT
MILE HIGH STADIUM ON OCT. 29, 1989. WHITE'S 11 SACKS THAT SEASON HELPED PHILLY
SET A TEAM RECORD, WITH 62.
WITH 198 CAREER SACKS IN 15 SEASONS, WHITE MADE AN ENDANGERED SPECIES OF THE
UPRIGHT QUARTERBACK. IN THIS NOVEMBER '95 GAME, HE PUT THE HEAT ON THE BEARS'
ERIK KRAMER EN ROUTE TO A 35-28 WIN. WHITE HAD 12 SACKS FOR THE SEASON, GOOD
FOR A TIE FOR SECOND IN THE NFL AND A 10TH STRAIGHT PRO BOWL NOD.
FANS TREATED WHITE (HERE RIDING TO TRAINING CAMP FLANKED BY TWO ESCORTS) LIKE A
VIP WHEN HE FIRST ARRIVED IN GREEN BAY, IN 1993. STILL, HE PREFERRED TO THINK
OF HIMSELF AS ONE OF THE GUYS. "I'M GOING TO WORK JUST AS HARD AS ANYBODY
HERE," HE SAID, "AND TRY TO DO WHAT I CAN TO HELP THIS TEAM
IT WOULD TAKE FOUR SEASONS BEFORE WHITE WAS ABLE TO MAKE GOOD ON HIS GOAL OF
RETURNING THE LOMBARDI TROPHY TO TITLETOWN. IN SUPER BOWL XXXI HE CORRALLED THE
PATRIOTS' DREW BLEDSOE FOR A RECORD THREE SACKS TO HELP THE PACKERS SECURE A