William Henderson: Nothing but respect for Thompson
Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame fullback William Henderson was Monday's guest on Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s live weekly football show.
Among the topics they touched on were Josh Sitton, Aaron Ripkowski and the Packers' 1996 defense. The show can be seen live at The Clubhouse Sports Pub & Grill in downtown Appleton or at clubhouselive.com.
Here are select and edited answers from the interview:
Q: What's your message to Packers fans who are angry by the decision to cut veteran guard Josh Sitton?
Henderson: Though we may not like (general manger Ted Thompson's) decisions, the immediate response is, 'That was the wrong move.' But the one thing about Ted Thompson, I've given him nothing but respect because every decision he makes, he puts his name on it, and he's the o
nly one held liable for his decision. And I've got to say, from the success of this team in the last few years - and there has been a Super Bowl (championship) since he has been involved - you can't say he doesn't know what he's doing. A man who's willing to stand up there, put his mark on the line and say, 'It's me.' Accountability, he has never denied it. So he's making a decision he feels this organization needs to do based on - not just this year, but over the next seven years. He's thinking about the future of the Packers.
Q: As a former fullback, what are your thoughts on current fullback and second-year pro Aaron Ripkowski?
Henderson: 'Rip' is solid. We hate it when our heroes fade and part ways, and it's difficult because of the emotional bond we have - especially with guys like (former Packers fullback) John Kuhn, who year after year after year gave it to us. But Ripkowski? Solid. There's nothing to question about if he can get it done. It's how big will the block be, or how big the performance will be? I have nothing but faith in that young man. I'm looking forward to watching him play this season and having tremendous success and helping Eddie (Lacy) and (James) Starks just have boom-boom years. They're going to be getting some major yards behind him.
Q: You were a member of the Packers' 1996 team that won Super Bowl XXXI. What do you remember most about that group of guys?
Henderson: The defensive line for that team never got the respect that they truly deserved. Our offense, they were always talking about how many touchdowns Brett (Favre) threw, or the big touchdowns in the Super Bowl. Desmond Howard's amazing performance. But the defense and that defensive line that we had with Gilbert Brown, Sean Jones, Reggie White, Santana Dotson - bar none, they need to be ranked up there with the Steel Curtain or the (Monsters) of the Midway. They need to be ranked up there because those guys gave the ball back to us time and time again.
Brett Christopherson: 920-993-7117, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @PCBrettC