Green Bay Packers: Al Harris and 10 Packers Who Deserved Super Bowl Rings
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images
Packer Nation was overjoyed when some longtime stalwarts—tackles Chad Clifton and Mark Tauscher, wide receiver Donald Driver and cornerback Charles Woodson—finally became Super Bowl champions after Super Bowl XLV.
Fans were delighted again last week, when Packers President Mark Murphy said that corner Al Harris, no longer with the team, would also get a Super Bowl ring—based on his past performances with the squad.
I’m happy that Harris’ career of fiery, tenacious play will be rewarded, and I started thinking about other worthy Packers who—despite long careers of accomplishment and notoriety in Green Bay—never got to hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
Here are 10 players whom I would have loved to see get rings during their Packer playing days. What do you think? Who is on your list of the most deserving Packers?
10. John Jurkovic
John Jurkovic leaves the 1995 NFC Championship game in a rage, after suffering a knee injury caused by Cowboys tackle Erik Williams
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
The very definition of a fan favorite, Jurkovic was beloved both for his outsized personality and oversized beer belly.
Though the nosetackle never had more than 5.5 sacks in a season (1993), “Jurko” made a place for himself in Packers lore during the 1995 NFC Championship game against the hated Dallas Cowboys.
Cut down by a questionable low block from Dallas tackle Erik Williams, Jurkovic angrily limped to the sidelines, and then, from the cart, implored his teammates to continue the fight.
Because he embodied the spirit of the underdog Packers battling the Cowboys Empire of the 90s, I wish Jurko could have won a ring during his time with Green Bay.
9. Ed West
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Of the men who suited up for Green Bay since 1980, only four men have played in more games as a Packer—Brett Favre, William Henderson, LeRoy Butler, and Donald Driver (all Super Bowl winners).
Tight end Ed West played in 167 games for Green Bay from 1984 to 1994—during some of the darkest days in Packer history—and left the Packers just before Favre entered his prime (his most productive year with the Pack was also his last, 1994, when “The Toolbox” collected 31 passes).
I can’t help but feel for this blue-collar player who toiled in obscurity for a decade and then missed his moment as the Favre and Packers ascended during the mid-90s.
8. Bubba Franks
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Franks was the Ed West of the 2000s—a reliable performer who missed out on a superstar quarterback’s best years (Aaron Rodgers in this case).
The former first-round pick never developed into a dynamic playmaker, but big Bubba became a dependable red-zone target, excellent run blocker, and Pro Bowl performer over the course of his Packer career.
In many ways, Franks was a symbol of the inter-Super Bowl years (the epoch between Super Bowl XXXII and XLV).
His career in Green Bay (from 2000-2007) mirrors the performance of his teams during that time: solid but unspectacular, good but not great.
7. Larry McCarren
Larry McCarren (right)
Matt Ludtke/Getty Images
“The Rock” meets several criteria for consideration: his longevity and durability (162 games played from 1973-1984), his fine performance despite some putrid Packer squads during his tenure (two Pro Bowl appearances), and his contributions to the franchise’s lore as a member of the media after his playing days.
Packer fans, especially younger ones, know him for his “Larry McCarren’s Locker Room” TV show and his voice over the Packers Radio Network.
6. Ryan Longwell
Brian Bahr/Getty Images
Once upon a time, GM Ron Wolf took a kicker in the third round of a draft (Brett Conway, in 1997). Conway ended up losing the kicking job to an undrafted, baby-faced California kid.
That guy, Ryan Longwell, would become the Packers’ all-time leading scorer with 1,054 points. Sure, he benefited from some Favre-fueled offensive juggernauts, but Longwell was—and still is—one of the steadiest legs in the game.
It’s unfortunate that Longwell’s lone appearance in the Super Bowl came during his first year in Green Bay. A Super Bowl ring was the only thing missing during Longwell’s prolific Packer years.
5. James Lofton
David Maxwell/Getty Images
Lofton was the face of the Packers franchise for most of the 1980s. A tall, graceful athlete, Lofton was a superstar WR on some decidedly low-watt Packer offenses.
On the strength of his All-Pro-studded career in Green Bay, Lofton was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the ’80s. In the 90s, he then had the misfortune of being on the Buffalo Bills squads that lost Super Bowls from 1990-1992.
So, despite his Atlas-like achievements in keeping the Packers (somewhat) relevant during the 1980s, it was sad that those teams never even came close to repaying him with a Super Bowl victory.
4. Aaron Kampman
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
A mid-round pick out of Iowa who worked his way to Pro Bowl status through old-fashioned Midwestern work ethic, “Kampy” remains beloved by Packer fans for his off-the-field community service and on-the-field pass rushing tenacity.
Kampman enjoyed eight extremely productive years with the Packers (during which he once finished second in the league in sacks, with 15.5 in 2006)—only to leave via free agency for Jacksonville on the eve of what would become the Packers’ Super Bowl-winning 2010 campaign.
It would have been nice to see one of the nicest Packers ever rewarded with a ring at some point.
3. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
Harry How/Getty Images
Some might be surprised to learn that “KGB”—and not the late great Reggie White—sits atop the Packers’ all-time list of sack artists.
Like Kampman, “KGB” was adored by Packer Nation for both his ability to knock down quarterbacks and his charitable contributions to homeless shelters and faith-based community organizations.
Blessed with an ebullient personality and an explosive first step, Gbaja-Biamila won the hearts of Packer fans—but never a Lombardi Trophy.
Despite KGB’s nine productive years in Green Bay, Favre and Co. were not able to deliver a Super Bowl win in the years 2000-2008.
2. Sterling Sharpe
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
If quarterbacks Don Majkowski and Favre put Green Bay football back on the map, it was the receiver Sharpe who put its name in lights and surrounded it with fireworks.
His highlight-reel catches added luster to that “Majik”-al 1989 season, and supplied flashes of brilliance to Favre’s early years. Who can forget Favre’s first playoff win, against the Detroit Lions in a 1993 wild card game, when Favre hit Sharpe for a 40-yard TD with 55 seconds left?
Sharpe etched a Tecmo Bowl-like stat line in that game: five catches, 101 yards, three TDs.
Indeed, Sharpe was on his way to rewriting the record books when his career was cut short by a neck injury in 1994—causing him to miss out on the glory years ahead.
1. Ahman Green
Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
The Packers’ all-time leading rusher deserves a Super Bowl ring perhaps more than anyone else who has put on the Green and Gold and come up short.
From the time he joined the Packers in 2000 (via the infamous Fred Vinson trade with the Seattle Seahawks) through 2004, Green rushed for more yards than anyone else in the NFL.
Amazingly, despite such productivity on the ground to complement the Favre aerial attack, the Packers did not win any championships during that time.
Green also suffered from impeccably bad timing; he came back to the Packers as an emergency backup in 2009—and missed out on Green Bay’s Super Bowl run by one year.