With the Green Bay Packers finally getting a legend into the Pro Football Hall of Fame — Jerry Kramer’s wait having finally ended this year — there was at least a possibility that the team would be chosen to participate in the annual Hall of Fame Game to kick off the 2018 preseason.
However, Green Bay has not been selected for the game, something that will likely come as a relief to head coach Mike McCarthy and his team.
Instead, the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears will take part in the game, which is scheduled for Thursday, August 2nd in Canton. The participating teams were announced in an NFL press release on Tuesday morning.
Both of those two teams have middle linebackers going into the Hall as part of the 2018 Enshrinement class. Brian Urlacher manned the middle of Chicago’s defense for 13 years from 2000 to 2012, making eight Pro Bowls and being named a first-team All-Pro four times. He also won defensive player of the year in 2005, then made his only appearance in the Super Bowl after the 2006 season. The Bears lost that game to the Indianapolis Colts.
Lewis had a 17-year career, with even more honors than Urlacher; he made 13 Pro Bowls and earned seven first-team All-Pro nominations plus a pair of DPOY awards. Lewis also was a member of two Super Bowl-winning Ravens teams, as Baltimore won following the 2000 and 2012 seasons.
The Bears and Ravens will get to start their training camps a bit early this year as a result, which will likely be a help for new Chicago head coach Matt Nagy. Meanwhile, the Packers will likely be on a normal schedule, and they will probably hold their Family Night scrimmage over the same weekend as the Hall of Fame Game and ceremonies. With the enshrinement ceremony set for Saturday, August 4th, the Packers would probably hold Family Night on Friday or Sunday to avoid taking any attention away from Kramer’s induction.
The last time the Packers were involved in the Hall of Fame Game was in 2016, when the contest against the Indianapolis Colts was canceled due to bizarre field conditions. That year’s ceremony featured Brett Favre as part of the 2016 class.