Continuing the series on the taxi squad in the Lombardi era…
Lombardi restocked the taxi squad in 1965 as the team headed to its third championship. Fourth round pick Syracuse quarterback Wally Mahle, fresh from handing off to Floyd Little and Jim Nance, was converted to a defensive back. Sixth round pick halfback Bill Symons tore up his knee and spent the year on the injured list and the taxi squad, while third rounder Allen Brown was assigned to the injured list, too. Undrafted free agents Eli Strand, a guard, and Larry Moore, a kicker/defensive back, were solely cab men.
Strand was featured in an article in the 1966 Packers Yearbook in which he described the life of the anonymous men on the taxi squad, “My duties were simple. I went to practice every day. I ran other team’s plays, as well as going through the drills they had. On all games I traveled with the team. I stood (or jumped) on the sidelines during the games.”Eli tried out for the Packers again in 1966, but was cut and spent 1966 with Pittsburgh and 1967 with New Orleans. Strand attributed the end of his NFL career to his attempts to organize the black players on the Saints. He was later a familiar voice on WFAN sports talk in New York as “Eli from Westchester” who often took a racial slant on issues.
Mahle and Symons also tried out for the team again in 1966, and they both were cut in August as well. Mahle’s career was over, but Symons went to Canada and had a successful eight-year career with the BC Lions and Toronto Argos that included being named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 1968.
Allen Brown would play for the Packers in 1966 and 1967 (three career receptions), but continued to have injury problems. Larry Moore would return to Green Bay in 1966, but never played in the NFL.
1965 Philadelphia-style custom cards; Brown, Strand and Moore are colorized.