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Cheese Curds, 2/11: Past and future define Packers’ big night at NFL Honors

LeRoy Butler and Aaron Rodgers got their turns on the stage on Thursday, with one symbolizing the team’s past successes and the other holding the future of the franchise in his hands.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022 Announcement Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

While the present is disappointing for the Green Bay Packers — who were upset at home in the Divisional Playoffs a few weeks back — the past is worthy of celebration today. On Thursday, one of the franchise’s most beloved players finally got the call he had been waiting for for years: that he has been selected for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

LeRoy Butler’s career was a legendary one, and he was one of the NFL’s very best safeties for an entire decade. While other stars like Reggie White made the headlines, Butler was the Swiss Army knife for defensive coordinator Fritz Shurmur throughout the 1990s, equally adept in coverage, in run support, and as a blitzer. This summer, he will join former teammates Brett Favre and White in Canton, along with all the rest of the legendary Packers who have been recognized by the Hall of Fame over the years.

While Butler represents the past of the franchise, the future is in the hands of the team’s back-to-back MVP quarterback. Aaron Rodgers didn’t make any big announcements during his MVP acceptance speech on Thursday night, but he sounds like a man who is happy with how he has been accommodated over the past year. If anything, this writer reads his comments as suggesting that the decision for him is not whether he wants to leave Green Bay and play elsewhere, but rather whether he wants to retire or return to the Packers.

That decision should come soon — likely in the next few weeks. At least this offseason we have a shorter timeline before we can expect an answer, rather than having to go months between the NFL Draft and the start of training camp to see if Rodgers would show up. If he wants to come back, the Packers will surely welcome him back into the fold, but time will tell what he decides to do.

Here’s a look at reactions from around Packers media to Thursday’s events.

LeRoy Butler receives long-awaited call to the Pro Football Hall of Fame | Packers.com
Congratulations to Butler, who remains a great ambassador for the franchise and was one of the best and most versatile safeties in NFL history. He now becomes the 28th former Packer to get a bust in Canton.

Packers become first team with 10 NFL MVPs | Packers Wire
Meanwhile, the Packers pulled ahead of the Colts in total MVP awards by franchise with Rodgers' back-to-back award, as Rodgers put himself in sole possession of second place all-time with his fourth (behind Peyton Manning's five).

Aaron Rodgers 'thankful' for Green Bay Packers' response to issues last offseason, still undecided on future | ESPN
Rodgers' speech thanked the Packers organization, including calling out Brian Gutekunst and Russ Ball in particular for their efforts to improve their relationships with him over the past year. Now we sit back and wait to see what he decides to do for 2022, a decision that he promises will come in short order.

Twitter reacts after Aaron Rodgers wins his fourth MVP award | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Of course, that won't stop internet sleuths from trying to parse every word of Rodgers' speech to try to find clues about what his plans will be. Here are a handful of entertaining reactions from around the near and far corners of the internet.

Pro Bowl Confidential: Players’ picks for MVP, worst city to visit, coach they’d like to play for – The Athletic ($)
The Athletic surveyed 20 Pro Bowlers anonymously about some normal and made-up awards, with a few Packers being named among the most underrated players in the NFL -- among the names are Elgton Jenkins, Aaron Jones, and De'Vondre Campbell.

A missing game of Wordle helps end a 17-hour hostage ordeal - BBC News
The daughter of an 80-year-old woman knew something was up when she didn't get her mom's daily Wordle update. That led to the daughter, who lives across the country, calling the police to check on her mother, and they found her being held captive in her own home by an intruder before defusing the situation.