There have not been many big-name free agent signings in the history of the Green Bay Packers. Spending large amounts of money on the free agent market just isn’t their way. However, there have been times when the organization has made the decision to take a swing. That is what happened when Ron Wolf nabbed Reggie White. It is also what happened when Ted Thompson signed Charles Woodson.
Of course, there is a great deal of work from many people when it comes to recruiting free agents. Former head coach Mike Holmgren famously left Reggie White a voicemail that said, “Reggie, it’s God. I want you to sign with the Packers.” With Woodson, there were many members of the front office working on his recruitment. It ended up working out, but former executive Andrew Brandt says it was not easy. At all.
Why Was It So Hard for the Green Bay Packers to Recruit Charles Woodson?
Former Packers executive Andrew Brandt recently Tweeted this:
Toughest recruiting I ever had.. https://t.co/WGHVWWuEy6
— Andrew Brandt (@AndrewBrandt) June 9, 2023
It is pretty well known that Woodson was not getting any interest on the free agent market after eight seasons with the Oakland Raiders. So why was it so hard to convince him to come to Green Bay?
Prior to Woodson’s induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel published an article by JR Radcliffe in which he quotes Woodson on his reluctance to sign with the Packers:
“I came here and played before (with the Oakland Raiders), but all the talk you hear from people that played in Green Bay, it’s like, ‘You don’t want to play there.’ Coming from Oakland, this is day and night. And every account I can remember of someone talking about Green Bay, this was not my type of place.
“It was everything — organization, nightlife, the whole thing. You know, just being in Green Bay. The talk is always this is no place for a black man and that’s just how it was.”
Green Bay will never have the nightlife of the bigger markets, so that is understandable why a player who sees that as an important part of his life would not want to come to Green Bay. What is concerning, however, is that he and others felt like Green Bay was/is a bad place to play for African American players. Even in recent seasons, players such as Marquez Valdes Scantling have revealed the nasty racist messages they receive on social media from so-called “fans.”
Hopefully this is an aspect of Green Bay that goes away forever and soon. There is no room for it in the world, much less a NFL city.