The mind ponders many odd topics in a slow news cycle. Right now many of are tired of hearing about the lock out (even though it should soon be over). We have spun around how much those new rookies should be able to fit in without actually seeing them practice (once again should be over soon). We have fought on and on about whether Aaron Rodgers should assemble the gang for a pretend practice. So on and so forth....
Well instead of rehashing these issues again my mind has wandered to something different. I don't remember what site or video it was...maybe something from NFL.com....but it was talking about where Darren Sharper might land. At that moment I remembered that he actually spent most of his time as a Packer. Now I did know this before, but it's not something I really think about much anymore. We as fans have become accustomed to players being a bit like mercenaries. They come and go, most of the time looking for top dollar or opportunity. So it's not the end of the world when a player who has been with the team for a while. Sure it's weird at first, and we may have mixed feelings about seeing them in a different uni, but eventually the fan realizes it's all a business and the player is just trying to further his career.
Sharper has not been in Green & Gold for a long time. He's played for a rival and a team that beat the crap out of a rival...he might even end up on a third team as his career continues to wind down. As we have a bit of pause from 2011 and 2010 seems a little distant I stop to ask the question....how do you think we should remember Darren Sharper in Titletown?
Now the way I see it there are four basic levels of remembering or enshiring a player in Green Bay. Level one is entrance in the Packer Hall of Fame. This is a spot reserved for players who have given their years to the franchise and were key players the Packers relied upon through thick and thin. The players inducted into this Hall range from the giants of our franchise (White, Lombardi, Hornung, Starr, Lofton) to the not great but key players of their era (Sharpe [would of been great if not for the injuries], Henderson, Larry McCarren, Johnny Gray, Lynn Dickey, the Majk Man, etc.).
The next level is the ring of honor. These are the names of players who add to the mystique of Lambeau field. They are constant reminders of the tradition and excellence of the Green Bay Packers. Typically these are guys in the Hall of Fame that have given many years to the Packers.
The third level is getting something named after you in the Greater Green Bay area. The Don Hudson Center. Nitschke got a bridge and a field. Candeo got a road. So did Holmgren, Starr, Favre, and Lombardi. Lambeau got the stadium.
The fourth and highest level for a player is the retirement of your number. If you hit this last number you probably have everything lower as well. All I have to do is list the numbers and you will probably know who is assoicated with that number....14, 3, 15, 66, 92, and soon 4.
So where does Sharper fit into this spectrum?
He might have put together a Hall of Fame (I'm talking Canton) career. He also spent most of that career, and built up his reputation as one of the best safeties in the league, in Green Bay. That has to count for something. He was a key defender for the Packers for almost a decade. He also bridged the gap between LeRoy Butler and Nick Collins at the FS position.
He was named part of the all decade team. Has been named to two All-Pro teams (once while with the Packers) and five Pro Bowls.
Of coarse he also started the trend of ex-Packers going to the Vikings. He was a thorn in our side with the Vikes for a few years. He also won his Super Bowl ring with the Saints. (Also keep in mind that most Viking fans hate him these days because of the 2009 NFC Championship game and "X Marks the spot" comments about opening up last season and the potential attacks on Favre...that has to count for something too.)
Right now I say he's a shoe in for the Packer Hall once he hangs it up. I don't see a reason why he shouldn't be put there. I would also say that if he gets into Canton that he should be in the Ring of Honor. Lofton is there even though he had many years with the Bills and Raiders...and Lofton left the Packers during a scandal. Sharper did go to a rival, but he never really had too many great seasons there anyways. As always I'm interesting to hear what all of you think about this....have at it!