For any job, the goal of a person is to strive for excellence, – pursuing both individual and organizational goals – perhaps even working towards building a legacy. Thomas Dale High School Alum and former Green Bay Packer William Henderson enriched his legacy as he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame with long-time teammate Marco Rivera.
“To be mentioned among the best to ever play for an organization is an unbelievable honor,” said Henderson. “I’m thankful I can represent the Green Bay Packers in this way.”
Henderson was born in Richmond and raised in Chester, playing high school football for Thomas Dale under the late head coach Vic Williams. In reflecting on his time at Dale, Henderson stated he wasn’t the best athlete or the best student for that matter, but the work ethic his parents instilled in him drove him to his successes.
“My parents were just two blue collar workers,” he said. “They always encouraged me to make myself available for success, and that approach kept me humble.”
Henderson attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) after graduating from Dale, and he encourages the young men playing football today to ensure they are well- rounded when it comes time to get recruited. After a great career on and off the field at UNC, Henderson was a third round draft choice by the Packers.
“I wasn’t the most talented athlete on my high school team,” said Henderson. “But when colleges game to recruit me, I had the total package, academics and athletics,” he stated. “If you want to make dreams come true, you need to have strong academics.”
During his 12-year career in the NFL, Henderson showed great consistency. Primarily a blocking fullback, “Boogie” was typically good for 25-40 receptions a year out of the backfield throughout his career. During his second year with the Packers, Henderson started 11 games at fullback and was a part of the Packers team that won Super Bowl XXXI over the New England Patriots 35-21. In the game, Henderson had two receptions. Henderson also shared the backfield with NFL and Green Bay Packers legend Brett Favre for all 12 years he played.
“It started from day one when I was brought into the Green Bay organization,” said Henderson. “I was surrounded by amazing athletes and men of amazing character.”
Later in his career, in 2004, Henderson was named a first team All-Pro, and participated in his first Pro Bowl that same year. Henderson retired in 2006 from the NFL.
The induction ceremony was also special for Henderson due to being inducted alongside longtime friend Marco Rivera, who was on the Packer’s offensive line for nine years (1996-2004) and was also a member of practice squad for the Super Bowl XXXI champions. Rivera, a three time pro-bowler, finished his career playing two seasons for the Dallas Cowboys before retiring the same year as Henderson.
“Marco is a remarkable kid; we always called each other kid,” told Henderson. “We worked together on and off the field and became friends on and off the field,” he continued. “He’s a great father and husband, and he works hard to show that football players aren’t entertainment just on the field, but forces in the community.”
Speaking of community, Henderson is heavily involved in several organizations surrounding education, and locally he supports 2BNB (To the Bottom and Back), an organization that provides free transportation to and from the city of Richmond for those who cannot afford it. Henderson also received the Bravo award in May 2011, a prestigious award given to people that have achieved excellence in their profession and in their community.
The Village News extends its congratulations to William Henderson on yet another accolade and wishes for his continued legacy in the Chester community.