On Saturday night, two long-time Packers and the most notable treasurer in team history were honored by the organization they devoted their careers to. The Packers inducted guard Marco Rivera and fullback William Henderson alongside Frank Jonet, the team’s treasurer when the Packers were just getting started and were facing a difficult financial situation.
Vic Ketchman of Packers.com writes that Jonet has been credited with saving the Packers franchise during those times of financial turmoil. It was Jonet’s strategy of selling stocks to the general public which allowed for the team to stay in the league, and now in 2011 it remains the only publicly owned franchise.
Marco Rivera was the very first player of Puerto Rican descent to play in the NFL, something his teammate, Henderson, pointed out during his induction speech. Rivera was introduced by his offensive line coach Larry Beightol who said ‘This is one of the best guys we’ve ever had at Green Bay. He rates up there with the very, very best.” After being drafted in the sixth round from Penn State in 1996, Rivera did not burst into the starting lineup immediately. He spend a couple seasons on the bench and even played briefly in NFL Europe, before growing into a Hall of Fame guard.
William Henderson was presented by his long time friend, John Allen, who is also the head coach of Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania. Henderson was drafted a year before Rivera from North Carolina. He spent his entire career with the Packers and was a starter for most of his 12 years in the league.
One of the most interesting statistics that Henderson carries also illuminates just how meaningful he was for the Packers during his tenure. Henderson blocked for six of the nine best rushing seasons in team history, including Dorsey Levens’ 1,435 yards in 1997 and Ahman Green’s record 1,883 performance in 2004.
All three of these Packers made a profound impact on the organization, and I personally congratulate them on their achievement.