Packers.com is letting you, the fan, give us some answers in our “Best by numbers” series. Our website staff has compiled a list of eight numbers worn by notable players from different eras, and it’s up to you to vote for the best player to wear each number.
The ballot is on the right side of the page, and on the home page.
The vote on the previous installment, No. 80, went to Donald Driver in a landslide.
Next up in the series is No. 84.
Carroll Dale (1965-72)
A big-play receiver in an era when big passing plays weren’t as common, Dale averaged a team-record 19.7 yards per catch over his eight seasons with the Packers, more than a yard better than anyone else in team history with at least 150 receptions.
The only player on this list to play in a Super Bowl for the Packers, Dale participated in the first two, catching a combined eight passes for 102 yards in those victories. He turned in 13 hundred-yard games and a career-best 205-yard game in 1968, one of only six Packers to accomplish that feat.
Steve Odom (1974-79)
Odom’s receiving numbers won’t match up to those of the other 84s, as he posted just 1,613 yards in six seasons in Green Bay. But he’s unmatched as a kick-returner, with a team record 4,124 kick-return yards.
In 1975, Odom was voted to the Pro Bowl as a return specialist, and in 1978, he led the NFL with a 27.1-yard average on kickoff returns. He returned two for touchdowns in his career, and even though he only returned punts for two seasons, his 95-yard punt return for a score in 1974 still stands as a franchise record.
Sterling Sharpe (1988-94)
A first-round draft pick out of South Carolina, Sharpe was the quintessential go-to guy for quarterbacks Don Majkowski and Brett Favre and may have put up untouchable marks in the team record book had a neck injury not cut his career short. As it is, Sharpe still holds the franchise marks for receptions by a rookie (55 in 1988), most catches in a season (112 in 1993), and most touchdown receptions in one year (18 in 1994).
Of the six highest single-season reception totals in team history, Sharpe holds four of them. When he retired all too soon, he held the franchise mark for career receptions (595), since passed by Donald Driver. He also ranks second in team history in yards in one season (1,461 in 1992), career hundred-yard games (29) and career TD receptions (65), while sitting third in career yards (8,134).
The Majkowski-to-Sharpe connection was special from the get-go, and the dynamic continued with Favre beginning in ’92. Some argue Favre became a better quarterback when Sharpe retired because he was forced to spread the ball around more. That may be true, but it was Sharpe who helped get Favre’s career off the ground.
Bill Schroeder (1994, 1997-2001)
A native of Sheboygan, Wis., Schroeder made a successful transition from the Division III college level at Wisconsin-La Crosse to the NFL. The former track star hit his stride in 1999, tying Antonio Freeman for the team lead with 74 receptions, and nearly matching Freeman’s 1,074 yards with 1,051.
A speedy long-strider, Schroeder almost had two other thousand-yard seasons, leading the team the next two years with 999 yards in 2000 and 918 yards in 2001 before signing as a free agent with Detroit and finishing his career with Tampa Bay. His 17.3 yards per catch that final season in Green Bay ranked first in the NFC and second in the league.
Javon Walker (2002-05)
A first-round pick in 2002 out of Florida State, Walker quickly developed into a dynamic playmaker, leading the team with nine TD catches in 2003 and then posting a trio of team bests with 89 catches for 1,382 yards and 12 TDs in 2004.
After asking the next offseason for a new contract, which never came, Walker blew out his knee in the ’05 season opener in Detroit and never played for the Packers again. He was traded for a second-round pick during the ’06 draft and went on to play for both the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders, posting one more thousand-yard season but never approaching his ’04 numbers again.
There are your choices for No. 84. Don’t forget to vote.