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Former teammates shocked by Darren Sharper rape case

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Darren Sharper played 14 NFL seasons with three teams. (USATSI)
Darren Sharper played 14 NFL seasons with three teams. (USATSI)
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"Either way, this is going to go down as one of the worst things in NFL history. I can't think of anything to this magnitude."

Those are the words of Tyrone Williams, the former Packers teammate of Darren Sharper, speaking to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Tyler Dunne. Sharper is currently in a Los Angeles County jail where he has been charged with two rapes and five drug counts. He has also been indicted for two more rapes in Arizona and is under investigation in Florida, Louisiana and Nevada.

Sharper, who played 14 NFL seasons, including the first eight with the Packers, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Former Green Bay teammates, meanwhile, are shocked by the news.

"I never, ever could have imagined seeing what has allegedly happened with Darren Sharper," said Williams. "I never would have seen this coming. It's mind-boggling."

Former Packers safety LeRoy Butler, who referred to Sharper as one of his "best friends," added: "This guy was like the chivalry days where you'd lay down a jacket so they could walk over the puddle. He was always very respectful. All my kids liked him, and I have four daughters. They knew him. They thought very highly of him. ...

"Girls would throw themselves at him," Butler continued. "He had no problem getting women at all. Good-looking guy. Great player. Possible Hall of Famer. He had lots of money. He had great parents -- fantastic parents. This was a guy nobody would expect this kind of stuff from."

And former coaches only had good things to say about Sharper.

"It was easy to have a really good relationship with him," said Kurt Schottenheimer, Sharper's defensive backs coach during his final year in Green Bay. "He was all about football. It was easy to get on the same page as him. He worked hard in all aspects of preparation, film work and on-the-field work. He was the first one on the field, the last one to leave. "You could walk into the defensive back room any time -- day or night -- and you wouldn't be surprised if he was in there looking at film."

Added Bob Valesente, Sharper's first position coach: "Just a real honest, hard-working guy. He fulfilled all of his responsibilities on a daily basis. No problems whatsoever."

Now, nearly 17 years after he was drafted by the Packers, Sharper sits in a cell awaiting his fate. On the outside, former friends and colleagues continue to wonder what happened.

"If their story is true and it's proven," former Packers wideout Antonio Freeman said, "it's a sad, sad day."

 
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