'Minister of Defense'

'Minister of Defense'

In the world of sports, an immortal is a player whose legacy lives on even after he is deceased. Former University of Tennessee football standout Reggie White appears on the verge of becoming an immortal.

White, a Baptist preacher nicknamed "The Minister of Defense," died Dec. 26, 2004 but his impact on the game continues. He will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August and into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame shortly thereafter. He is considered by many to be the greatest defensive end in NFL history.

Although Reggie White's UT career was marred by injuries, he was the most dominating defender in college football as a senior in 1983. He recorded four sacks in a game against The Citadel that fall and 15 sacks for the season – program records that stand to this day. He also holds Tennessee's record for career sacks with 32.

White spent much of his NFL career with the Philadelphia Eagles but had perhaps his greatest impact during his stint with the Packers. After joining Green Bay as a free agent following the 1992 season, White elevated its defense from No. 23 to No. 2 in one year. By 1996 the Packer defense ranked No. 1 and Green Bay was the Super Bowl champion.

The Packers retired White's jersey number, 92, before last season's home opener. He will join the storied franchise's "Ring of Honor" prior to the 2006 opener Sept. 10 against the Chicago Bears.

The Ring of Honor is exclusively for Pro Football Hall of Fame inductees. It's the kind of recognition befitting an immortal.

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