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Wednesday Walkthroughs: Reminiscing about favorite Packers folk heroes

The APC writers share stories about their favorite non-star Packers players.

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

It’s easy to love a star, but sometimes a player just turns out to be your favorite for reasons you can’t quite explain. This week, we’re talking about Green Bay Packers players we love for reasons beyond just what they do on the field.

Evan “Tex” Western - Tony Fisher and Don Beebe

Beebe made his name in Buffalo, running down Leon Lett from behind in a Super Bowl that was already well out of hand. When he showed up in Green Bay in 1996, he was a marvelous 3rd or 4th wide receiver, racking up 699 receiving yards and four touchdowns that season. He also had a few notable big plays, including an insane 11-catch, 220-yard game against the 49ers in the regular season that featured a controversial touchdown. However, he was a magnificent special teams player as well -- he returned a kickoff for a score early in the season and his block on Desmond Howard’s third-quarter kickoff return sprung the eventual Super Bowl MVP for the score that put Super Bowl XXXI out of reach. (Oh, and I still have a Beebe jersey that I wear on the regular.)

My other option, Tony Fisher, was the third wheel of the Packers’ running game in the early 2000s, typically playing behind Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport (a legendary anti-hero in his own right for the laundry hamper incident). Still, Fisher was the perfect RB3: a good blocker and receiving back who was also a great special teams player. Fisher only started five games at running back and had more than 50 rushing yards in just three contests, but he was exactly the kind of player you want as a reserve running back and he was fun to watch.

Owen Riese - Letroy Guion

The homie got busted with like guns, weed, and two hundred grand in his car and flexed on a cop during a DUI stop and told his girlfriend to bail him out of jail. While he was never a star for the Packers, Guion fulfilled his role of a run stopping plugger in the middle. He also wore a plethora of chains in the captain’s circle during a training camp practice. LeTroy Guion wasn’t the hero we deserved, but he was the hero we needed.

Paul Noonan - Bob Nelson

Bob played for four non-consecutive seasons in the NFL at nose tackle, first joining Tampa for a year in 1986, and then spending 3 with the Packers from 1988-1990. He also had a stint with the Arizona Outlaws of the USFL. His career was unremarkable, and I could not tell you if he was actually a good player in real life, but Bob is legendary for other reasons.

Many will tell you that Bo Jackson is the most game-breaking Tecmo Super Bowl player, but that distinction is, for some reason, actually held by Bob Nelson. The Packer nose tackle is one of the most dominant players of the game, and using the down/dive combination at the snap allows him to blow up any play instantly, a move that is banned during tournaments. Even when not essentially cheating, Nelson is ridiculously fast, and more than able to chase down ball carriers.

Nelson is one of the game’s odd, endearing quirks, and in a small group of old video game players, he is one of the most famous Packers of all time.

Jon Meerdink - Tyrone Davis

I played my first season of organized football in 2000. Too tall to be a running back, too skinny to play offensive line, and too slow to split out wide, I ended up at tight end. Not the coolest position for a sixth grader, but I couldn’t complain.

The day they handed out jerseys we all collected bags with our home jerseys, road jerseys, and game pants inside. I eagerly tore mine open to see which Packers player I’d be sharing a number with. Would it be the still-legendary (if only in my mind) Antonio Freeman? Local product Bill Schroeder? Raw but intriguing Donald Driver? Or would I get really lucky and share a number with my favorite player Corey Bradford, who’d ridden my bike to practice at training camp the previous summer?

Dizzy with the possibilities, the bag gave way to reveal… 81. Tyrone Davis. Oh.

A backup tight end really didn’t really bring the cool factor I was hoping for, but he became my guy. Swallowing my disappointment, I celebrated each of his 19 catches that season, his last year with the Packers that could really be considered productive.

He may not have been the player I was hoping for, but he was the one that I got, and in the end, that was okay with me. Thanks to my numerical connection to him, I had a lot more appreciation for a player who didn’t generate big-time headlines in Green Bay, which is as good a lesson about sports and life as any, I suppose.

Matub - Big Bad John (Kuhn)

Every mornin’ on the field you could see him arrive
He stood six-foot-one and weighed two-forty-five
Kinda broad at the shoulder and also broad at the hip
And everybody knew ya didn’t give no lip to big John
(Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)

Shippensburg U is where John called home
Won a ring in Pittsburgh but they left him alone
He didn’t say much, kinda quiet and shy
And if you spoke at all, call him a “lunchpail guy” Big John
One day he up and left for New Orleans
Where he went to fight for the one Drew Brees
And a crashin’ blow from a huge right hand
Sent a edge rushing fellow to the promised land, big John
(Big John, big John) Big bad John (big John)

Then came the day against a Chicago line
When a 4th down came and men started cryin’
Packers were prayin’ and hearts beat fast
And everybody thought that they’d breathed their last, ‘cept John
It was 4th and 8 in this man-made hell
In comes a blitzer that the Packers knew well
Threw a cut block, gave out with a groan
And like a giant oak tree he blocked Peppers alone, big John
(Big John, big John) Big bad John (big John)

And with all of his strength he gave a mighty shove
Then a Packer yelled out “there’s Cobb up above!”
And Aaron Rodgers scrambled from a would-be grave
With his effort it was a season he saved, big John
Chris Conte got lazy and started back down
Then no one was there to bring Cobb to the ground
Kuhn’s big block could be considered divine
Everybody knew it was the end of the line except John
(Big John, big John) Big bad John (big John)

Now, Chicago they know is a worthless pit
They just cut Peppers because of it
These are a few words that will always stand
John Kuhn threw a block on a big, big man
Big John (Big John, big John)
Big bad John (big John)
(Big John) big bad John