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Packers legend Bart Starr will be sorely missed

Whether you are a Green Bay Packers fan, hate that team or don’t follow the NFL, you had to admire Bart Starr, the legendary quarterback who died Sunday at the age of 85.

Did you ever hear anyone say a bad word about the man?

Starr became a superstar under the tutelage of Vince Lombardi, another football legend. Starr was a Super Bowl Most Valuable Player (twice actually, for the first two games) and the NFL MVP in 1966. He is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But beyond that, he was admired as an all-around wonderful human being.

As NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said: “Bart Starr was one of the most genuine, sincere people I knew. He personified the values of our league as a football player, a family man, and a tireless philanthropist who cared deeply about helping at-risk kids.

“Above all, he was a wonderful human being who will be remembered for his kindness and compassion.”

That included Starr and his wife, Cherry, helping co-found Rawhide Boys Ranch in New London, Wisconsin, a facility designed to help at-risk and troubled boys throughout the state.

Many credit Starr and Lombardi with pushing the league into the forefront of national sports interest. They were a great combo, the coach leading the quarterback into the elite levels of that position.

Starr, himself, explained it this way: “If you work harder than somebody else, chances are you’ll beat him though he has more talent than you.”

And he credited Lombardi for showing him “that by working hard and using my mind, I could overcome my weakness to the point where I could be one of the best.”

That indeed he was.

The Packers have had many other Hall of Fame players in addition to Starr, but none have overshadowed his legacy.

Brett Favre, another Packer well known to fans around the globe, said this in a tweet about his predecessor: “Bart Starr was the most kind, thoughtful and classiest person you could ever know. I consider myself extremely lucky to have called him friend and to have been mentioned in the same breath.”

In an era when many days the sports page can look like a police blotter and many excuses are offered for bad behavior by athletes, a gentleman like Bart Starr was someone who proved that you could be a winner and an amazing human being at the same time.

He will be missed.

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