Santana Dotson: '96 Packers approachable, accountable
Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle and Super Bowl champion Santana Dotson was the guest on Monday's Clubhouse Live, USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin’s live weekly football show.
Among the topics he touched on were the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey and playing on a championship team. 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: You're a Houston resident. What was it like to go through a storm like Hurricane Harvey, which dumped over 50 inches of rain on parts of the city?
Dotson: We were never going to get the full brunt of the hurricane. It was always flood and heavy rain. I've never heard 50 inches in the forecast. So you hear it, and don't we all like to kind of (question) the weather man a little bit? 'I know he said 50, but maybe he meant 15, or something like that.' You could tell as the hurricane approached land and turned into a Category 4 - when you hear 4 and you live on the Gulf Coast, that gets pretty serious. And then the mayor came on about 12 hours before, and he said shelter and stay in place. ... Houston really got the brunt of the rain. So, it rained. And it rained. And it rained. And it rained. ... So we've got underpasses that are still today - I looked at it earlier - that still have 14 feet of water that they're still trying to get rid of. When you start seeing underpasses and highways that look like raging rivers, you know that you want to stay inside.
Q: You and former teammates Gilbert Brown, LeRoy Butler and George Koonce held a fundraiser on Sunday in Brookfield that benefited people who have been impacted by the hurricane. How appreciative were you in getting that support from those guys?
Dotson: It started by a guy named Reggie White, but our locker room was a great locker room. The ball is brown - that's a saying in the locker room - the ball is brown everywhere, meaning that you may go play at other teams. But the locker room that we had back in '96, '97 - those Reggie White years - was truly an amazing locker room. And that being said, the saying in the locker room was you never say no to a teammate, meaning that when somebody calls you, you've got to go. So when (the hurricane) happened), ... they called me. They're like, 'Hey, what's going on? We've got to do something.' So we did that event (Sunday). They showed up, we signed autographs and they were all ready to go.
Q: You played on the Packers' 1996 Super Bowl title team. Besides the obvious talent, what made that group so special?
Dotson: Man, it was on so many different levels. I think it was a charismatic team. Everybody was accessible. And it starts again with Reginald White, but you have a lot of teams where their leadership is unapproachable. And Reggie, for whatever reason, was so approachable. So even myself as a fourth-, fifth-year player, he had time for everybody. And I think that just matriculated to everybody. Brett Favre, he was very approachable. He was always in the locker room, always had a joke of the day. ... Everybody was very approachable. So I think it was a real family atmosphere. And then the production. Nobody wanted to be that guy that allowed the big run, or the big pass, or was offsides, or created the error on offense. Everybody wanted to make sure that they were dependable to the guy next to him. So, the accountability was at an all-time high of any team that I ever played on.