God tells Reggie White to play another year for Packers

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Reggie White got the message right in the middle of back therapy: play!
And so, just two days after announcing his retirement from pro football, the NFL’s career sacks leader changed his mind Tuesday and said he would play for the Green Bay Packers next season.
“I have reevaluated my decision,” White said in a statement released by the Packers. “I decided I would not retire and that I would play one more year.”
On Sunday, coach Mike Holmgren said the 36-year-old defensive end, who doubles as an ordained Baptist minister, told him that he was retiring because of the bad back that troubled him for most of last season.
According to CNN-Sports Illustrated, White was getting his back worked on Monday when, “the Lord spoke to him and told him that he had to be a man of his word and play one more season for the Packers.”
White, the first big-name free agent to switch teams, had planned a farewell news conference in Green Bay on Wednesday. Instead, he will use the opportunity to explain his decision to return to the Packers for a sixth season.
Packers spokesman Lee Remmel offered no details why White changed his mind. “It is his decision and his story and he is going to explain that,” Remmel said.
White did not return telephone messages left on his answering machine by The Associated Press.
A team spokesman said general manager Ron Wolf, coach Mike Holmgren and team president Bob Harlan would have nothing to say about White’s change of heart until after the news conference.
Packer fans rejoiced at White’s change of heart.
“Wonderful. What can be better? He’s the greatest,” Louis Gardipee of Green Bay said. “If he says he’s healthy enough to play, he is. He’s got the good Lord on his side.”
White first told Holmgren on his intention to retire shortly after the Packers were upset in the Super Bowl. But Holmgren tried to talk him out of it, offering him a part-time role as a designated pass rusher.
White met with Holmgren about two weeks ago, reiterating his intention to call it a career. Holmgren tried one last time to talk him out of it, but on Sunday, the two met again and White said he was through.
White has missed only four games in his career, enduring a hyperextended elbow in 1994 and a torn hamstring in 1995.
When White signed a five-year, $19 million contract extension last year, he said he planned on playing at least through the 1998 season. He’s due to earn $2.6 million this season, with a cap value of $3.2 million.
He had 11 sacks last year, giving him 176 1/2 for his 13-year career. He was selected to the Pro Bowl for a record 12th consecutive time despite the back problems that limited him to part-time duty. He also had walking pneumonia the last month of the season.
White helped lead the Packers to two consecutive Super Bowl appearances.
A member of the NFL’s 75th anniversary team, White joined the Packers in 1993 for four years and $17 million after eight seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and single-handedly erased the notion that Green Bay was a city where black players didn’t want to live and where the team could no longer compete.
White recently was criticized for a March 25 speech to Wisconsin lawmakers in which he used cultural stereotypes and denounced homosexuality as a sin. He later apologized for any harm his remarks may have caused.