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NFL legend Reggie White dies at 43

White's legacy? The Packers' credibility

Reggie White gallery

SportsNation's memories of Reggie White

Mike Golic remembers Reggie WhiteESPN Motion

Sunday, December 26
Updated: December 27, 4:25 PM ET
Memories of No. 92

As towering a presence as Reggie White was on the field, he was that much more impressive off the field. believes those who knew him are the best to truly describe White. Here are just some of the many things they had to say about the "Minister of Defense."

Mike Golic

Mike Golic
"Reggie White was the greatest defensive end of all time, but as great as he was on the field, he was that much greater off the field. I'd like to take a moment to tell you what kind of person Reggie White was. I had the pleasure to play with Reggie from 1987-1992, and those were five wonderful years because he was there. He was a man who led wherever he went whether it was on the football field or off it. When he chose a path, he stuck to it, and that's part of the reason why he was great on and off the field.

He was one of my closest friends off the field, and I'm extremely sad that I'm here to have to eulogize such a great man. I will miss Reggie, and my thoughts and prayers go out to his wife, Sara, and his two lovely children."

Eric Allen

Eric Allen
"You probably know we were teammates from 1988-1992. What you probably don't know is he was probably the biggest influence on me from the time I stepped foot into Philadelphia until now. More so off the field than on. We continued to stay in touch throughout my 17 years since being a rookie in Philadelphia, and I have a great amount of love for him and his family. So like he would do, please say a prayer for him and his family."

Paul Tagliabue

Paul Tagliabue
"Reggie White was a gentle warrior who will be remembered as one of the greatest defensive players in NFL history. Equally as impressive as his achievements on the field was the positive impact he made off the field and the way he served as a positive influence on so many young people. We are deeply saddened by his loss and extend our deepest sympathy to Reggie's wife Sara and his entire family."

Mark Schlereth

Mark Schlereth
"Reggie White was one of the greatest football players I've ever seen or lined up against. He was amazingly dominant and someone that a team spent a week preparing for. When an offensive line stepped onto the field, it was imperative to locate where White was lined up to have some semblance of a chance at figuring out how he was going to disrupt your offense.

I'll never forget one of the first times I ever had to face White on the field. I was playing for the Washington Redskins at the time, and I didn't really expect to have to face him. At the time, the Eagles would switch him all over the line so that he'd occasionally face a guard. I'll never forget how I felt when I came out of the huddle and realized he was lining up to face me. I immediately started wondering what I'd done to deserve this butt whupping.

Off the field, there wasn't a hypocritical bone in his body. He affected many people with his personality, beliefs and the stewardship of his life. He was one of the greatest and noblest men I've ever been around. Regardless of where you were in your walk in life, he was going to treat you with kindness, compassion, love and respect. We've lost a great man."

Joe Theismann

Joe Theismann
"I knew Reggie White for many years during and after his playing career and I was fortunate to know and spend time with such an amazing human being. The last time I spent time with him was last year during a trip to Indianapolis and I only wish I'd spent more time with him because he was one of the dearest souls to ever put on a uniform. He was committed and outspoken in his beliefs, feared nothing and his commitment to God was No. 1 in his life.

I'll never forget his last season in Green Bay when I was broadcasting a game for Sunday Night Football. He'd torn his hamstring and I remember in the meeting I actually put my fingers in his leg where the hamstring was supposed to be. I expressed shock that he'd be able to play and he told me he put his faith in God that it'd be alright. He went out and had a great game and it was one of the greatest sights I've ever seen. His play that day convinced me of divine intervention. That was typical of the type of faith that Reggie White had. He knew God would take care of the situation.

On the football field, White was a rare combination of size, power and speed. He was one of those guys who stepped up and made special plays when his team needed him to come through. Like all great players he had a great sense of knowing when to seize the moment. That sense of the moment and greatness extended off the field as witnessed by those in his church's congregation. In 1999 White came to the rescue when an arsonist burned down his church. He knew his congregation needed him and he came through leading the fund raising drive to get the church rebuilt. That's his legacy.

It's a tragedy to lose someone so valuable to society at such a young age. I won't remember the passing of Reggie White, but I will remember his contributions and I'll celebrate his life because I had a chance to know the man."

Michael Irvin

Michael Irvin
"When a football player passes away everyone talks about how great he was as a player. But if you just talked about how great Reggie White was on the football field you fell well short of who he was as a person.

As a player the first thing I thought when I first saw him was that he's one of the greatest of all time. I honestly couldn't wait to get to the Pro Bowl just so I could talk to him about football. I wanted to know what it was like to get to that level of greatness and what it took to stay there.

When we met he wouldn't even address those things because he wanted to know how I was spiritually. We sat and talked a good while about those things and I was touched at how great a person he was. We recently talked three months ago and he asked about my family and how I was doing as a person. He was truly a great guy and people realized that when they were in his presence. He was a gift from God and that's all you need to know about Reggie White."

Tom Jackson

Tom Jackson
"On every occasion I had to meet Reggie, it was evident how good a player and person he was. He was as good a defensive player as I've ever seen and I know it sounds clichéd to say it, but he was a much better person. His great work in the ministry, how good he was around children coupled with how great a family man he was shows what a loss we've suffered. He knew what it meant to be a friend and leaves behind a great legacy. He was taken too soon, but his inspiration will survive."

Mike Ditka

Mike Ditka
"As great as Reggie White was as a player, what I remember the most is that he was the best example of what being a pro athlete is all about. He was pure class on and off the field. He was always tolerant of his opponent and never tried to hurt or embarrass anyone. I loved him as a player and I loved him even more as a person."

Len Pasquarelli

"A couple thoughts on the wonderful Reggie White, who passed away in his sleep on Sunday morning, at the far too young age of 43 years: During his 1993 free agency tour, most people forget that White came through Atlanta on his fact-finding trek. At that time, yours truly was covering the Falcons for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the arrival of White at the club's complex was like a visit from a rock star. Make that a well-grounded rock star. Terrific, accommodating, introspective guy. The Falcons, not all that surprisingly, didn't have much chance of landing White but he treated team officials with respect and dignity, when he could well have been dismissive.

From a football standpoint, one angle I think people missed on Sunday night as they spoke about his talents on the field, was how disruptive and destructive White was when defensive coordinators moved him down inside to tackle on some passing downs. White is recalled, correctly so, as being a great pass-rushing force from the outside. But a great many of his sacks came when he was at tackle, where he could use his speed and trademark "hump" move to get inside of overmatched guards.

As a Pittsburgh native, I possess a bias toward Joe Greene as the best defensive lineman I've ever seen. Truth be told, as far as the complete package and the ability to author game-altering plays, Reggie White was probably peerless."

Dwight Freeney

"If you're a defensive end, a guy who loves to sack the quarterback, how could you not admire Reggie White and everything he accomplished? I've watched a lot of pass rushers and he was special. He did things his way, invented moves to get him to the quarterback, and was just a great player. Sure I've studied him. But I could never be so bold as to say I could duplicate him. He was just a great player and, from what I understand about him, a great person, too."

Duce Staley

"I remember when I was rookie with the Eagles filling in for Ricky Watters and I was playing against Reggie. I gave him a cut block and then got in his face and said some things to him out of emotion. He came over to me and said, 'Rookie, that was a good block, but remember what you are saying is to a Child of God.' That floored me and I wasn't the same the rest of the game. He was a remarkable person along with being a remarkable player."

Wilbert Montgomery

"Reggie White was a man who stood large in stature as a man, and in his beliefs. He was a guy that stood up for what he believed was right. Here is a guy that was so disruptive on the field and changed the game from a defensive end standpoint, but also had the softer side to stand up for what he believed in outside the game."

J.D. Gibbs

"On behalf of my dad (Washington Redskins head coach Joe Gibbs) and the entire Joe Gibbs Racing family, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to Sara and the White family for their loss. He was much more than a great football player. He excelled as a husband and father and he honored the Lord with his life. It was a true pleasure to collaborate with him on the Joe Gibbs Racing Diversity Program. I know that my father and I, as well as all the employees of JGR, were looking forward to a long relationship with Reggie through this program. All of us at Joe Gibbs Racing will ensure that his vision to cultivate a diversity program within NASCAR will continue. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his family during this difficult time."

Jeffrey Lurie

"We are deeply saddened by the passing of one of the greatest men ever to play the game of football. On behalf of the entire Eagles family, our condolences go out to his wife, Sara, to his children, and to all those who have been touched by Reggie throughout his life. His legacy on and off the football field will never be forgotten."