5 Players Who Belong in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

Brad Kurtzberg@@sealshockeyContributor IApril 5, 2014

5 Players Who Belong in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame

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    The Green Bay Packers have one of the richest histories of any NFL team. The Pack played their first season in 1919 and joined the NFL two years later. In 1976, the Packers became the first team to open their own Hall of Fame.

    There are 151 people who have been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. Yet as is the case with any Hall of Fame, there are former players who have not been given the honor of induction but who are deserving of selection.

    Here is a list of the five former Packers players who deserve to be inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame. This list is limited to players only and the player has to be retired for at least five seasons in order to be eligible. As a result, a player like Charles Woodson, who will be a lock for induction once his career is over, is not eligible for this list.

    The impact the player had during his Packer career and the length of his career in Green Bay are also factors in qualifying for this list.

    Feel free to comment on any of the players on this list or add someone whom you feel deserves to be inducted.

    As always, indicate why you feel the way you do.

5. Jim Carter

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    Jim Carter played middle linebacker for the Packers from 1970-1978. The Packers selected the former University of Minnesota star in the third round of the 1970 NFL draft.

    Unfortunately for Carter, he was the heir apparent to Hall of Famer Ray Nitschke, one of the most popular players in the history of the Packers. When protege beat out Nitschke for the job, the fans turned on him, and Carter didn't handle the situation as well as he could have. He came across as brash in some interviews with the media and not as respectful of Nitschke's legacy as he needed to be. As a result, Carter started off on the wrong foot with many Green Bay fans.

    But Carter was a very good football player. He was a part of a strong defense that led the 1972 club that won the NFC Central crown with a 10-4 record.

    Carter's best individual season came in 1973 when he intercepted three passes, returning one of them for a touchdown. Carter was named to the Pro Bowl for his efforts.

    After suffering an injury-riddled 1976 season, Carter came back to lead the Packers in unassisted tackles in 1977 with 121.

    He retired after the 1978 season. Throughout his career, he was often a good player on a not-so-great Packers team.




4. Rich McGeorge

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    Rich McGeorge played for the Packers from 1970-1978. The big tight end was selected in the first round of the 1970 NFL draft with the 16th overall selection.

    If you look at McGeorge's statistics, they aren't spectacular by modern standards. But he played during an era before the rules opened up the passing game. He also played on some Green Bay teams that lacked quality quarterbacking and ran the ball a lot more than throwing it.

    Throughout his career, McGeorge was considered a good blocker and reliable receiver. His numbers would have been much better if he ever had a quarterback to get him the ball. Among the signal-callers McGeorge played with in Green Bay were Scott Hunter, Don Horn, Jerry Tagge, Randy Johnson, Carlos Brown, Jim Del Gaizo, John Hadl, David Whitehurst and Lynn Dickey before Dickey matured into one of the league's better passers.

    McGeorge's most productive receiving season came in 1975 when he grabbed 32 passes for 458 yards.

    Former teammate Larry Krause told Martin Hedricks of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Rich was a really talented individual," Krause said. "Rich didn't get a lot of opportunities, with the way the game was then and the Packers' emphasis on running the ball. If we did throw, it was mainly to the wide outs."

    During his career, McGeorge was considered one of the most underrated tight ends in the league. He finished his career with 175 catches for 2,370 yards and 13 touchdowns.


3. Mark Lee

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    Mark Lee spent 11 seasons with the Packers from 1980-1990. Unfortunately, like most of the players on this list, he was a good player on some very average (or worse) teams.

    Early in his career, the former University of Washington star also returned punts for the Packers and returned one 94 yards for a touchdown in 1981 against the New York Giants.

    In 1985, Lee was at the center of the Packers-Bears rivalry when he was ejected from a game against Chicago for hitting Walter Payton out of bounds. Still, to this day, the players who were on the field felt that Payton was responsible for the play.

    In the book, Mudbaths and Bloodbaths: The Inside Story of the Bears-Packers Rivalry, by Gary D'Amato and Cliff Christl, former Packers linebacker Brian Noble recalled, "They called the penalty on Mark Lee and kicked him out of the game. We lost our best cornerback, but it was Payton who pulled Lee over the bench. Nobody ever talks about that."

    Regardless, Lee never had a reputation as a dirty player. He was always a reliable cover corner who played well for some mediocre teams.

    Lee's best season came in 1986 when he intercepted nine passes for the Pack. Only future Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott had more that year.

    Lee finished his Packers' career with 31 interceptions and was the team's best cornerback in the 1980s. Unfortunately, the Packers qualified for the postseason only once in his time with Green Bay, and that was during the strike-shortened 1982 season.

2. Brian Noble

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    Inside linebacker Brian Noble spent nine seasons with the Packers. The Pack drafted the former Arizona State star in the fifth round of the 1985 draft. Noble surprised everybody by winning a starting job as a rookie.

    Noble became a tackling machine and was often among the team's leader in tackles throughout the late 1980s. Four times during his nine seasons in Green Bay Noble finished the campaign as the Packers top tackler.

    During the strike-shortened 1987 season, Noble five fumbles in 12 games, a career-high.

    Noble was still a starter in 1993, the year Reggie White joined the Packers. Unfortunately, he dislocated his knee in the second game of the season and that effectively ended his NFL career. He ended up retiring just as the Packers started to become consistent winners.

    Noble was a leader and one of the most effective players on some poor teams. The only winning season the Packers had when he was healthy was 1989 when they finished 10-6. But the team's lack of success shouldn't take away from the fact that Noble was a quality player for the Packers for nearly a decade.


1. Tim Harris

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    Outside linebacker Tim Harris spent five seasons with the Green Bay Packers from 1986-1990 and was an impact player throughout his tenure.

    The Packers grabbed Harris in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL draft. The former Memphis star became a pass-rushing force immediately. Harris had eight sacks as a rookie and used his speed and size to consistently pressure opposing quarterbacks.

    In 1988, Harris jumped to 13.5 sacks and caused two safeties while recording 110 total tackles.

    The following year, Harris recorded 19.5 sacks and was named to the Pro Bowl as the Packers finished the season 10-6. Harris was by far the best player on the Green Bay defense that year. His best game came in week 4 during a comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons, when he registered four sacks.

    Harris was also one of the league's most active trash-talkers. Former Minnesota Vikings center Kirk Lowdermilk told Peter King of Sports Illustrated, "He talks so much, he's the perfect example of the guy you love to hate."

    Ray Perkins, who coached the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1989 was quick to praise Harris to King. "I don't think he's a good football player. I don't think he's very good. I think he's one of the great players in football today."

    After leaving Green Bay, Harris won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers.

    His brash, intense style made him a fan favorite and an impact player during his time in Green Bay. The Packers may not always have been a good team during Harris' tenure, but opposing offenses always had to account for the speedy linebacker whenever he was on the field.