Starr left a lasting impression on many
By Heather Graves
GREEN BAY – The history of the Green Bay Packers would not be what it is if it wasn’t for the late Bart Starr.
From his days taking snaps as quarterback from 1956 to 1971 to his days calling plays as head coach from 1975 to 1983, the legacy of No. 15 will always live on in Green Bay.
For some Packers alum in Titletown for Alumni Weekend, the chance to be a part of an event honoring the late Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback is something they were humbled to be a part of.
Former Packers quarterback Lynn Dickey vividly recalls his first meeting with Starr after being traded to the team in 1976.
“I was lucky,” Dickey said. “I feel very blessed that I got to play and be around him – me as a player, him as a coach, the eight years I was around him. It was really neat to be a quarterback and get to play for a guy who actually played quarterback. So when I’d come off the field and he’d give me a hint to look for this or that, I’d think, I should probably listen to what he has to say.”
Former Packers center Larry McCarren said he is often asked about Bart Starr.
“My response always ends with Hall of Fame player, Hall of Fame human being,” McCarren said.
The weekend was the first time Gary Weaver, former Packers linebacker, has been back to Green Bay and Lambeau Field since he retired after the 1979 season.
Having the opportunity to honor his late coach made the decision to come back easy.
“Bart was a great man, he was an outstanding person,” Weaver said. “He took me in when I got cut from the Oakland Raiders. He picked me up, he brought me here and gave me a chance to play.”
Paul Coffman, former Packers tight end, said there was never a lack of hope when playing for Starr.
“He gave us hope, he made us believe in ourselves, made us believe in our team and what we were trying to do – we didn’t win as many games as we hoped, we didn’t win any Super Bowls, but Bart gave us hope each and every day,” Coffman said. “When he came and addressed the team, we knew we had each other’s backs when we out there on the field. We were going to do the best we could just for our love of the game of football, for Bart and for each other. He instilled that in us all.”
It’s obvious, Starr left an impact on the lives of all who came in contact with him.
It’s also evident that the legacy of Starr lives on at Lambeau Field.
The Packers are dedicating this season to the legendary leader with No. 15 decals on player’s helmets, on the field and on fan buttons.