Training Camp Stories, 1961

One of the fastest cuts ever made in a Green Bay training camp was Royce Whittingon. The Packers drafted 6’2” 270-pound defensive tackle out of Southwestern Louisiana as a future pick in 1960. Whittington signed his contract on March 2, 1961 and was told to report at 260 pounds.

However, when Whittington weighed in at the opening of training camp on Monday July 17, he weighed a whopping 315 pounds. The Milwaukee Sentinel noted that he “trudged around” at the first practice that afternoon. Following practice, Vince Lombardi cut him, saying, “He was simply too much out of condition. He should do something about that weight for his own good.”

At that point, 6’6” 280-pound Jim Brewington became the biggest man in camp, but the 17th round pick out of North Carolina Central showed enough movement to stay in camp. Brewington and fellow rookie Elijah Pitts were two sleeper picks from historically black colleges scouted by veteran safety Emlen Tunnell. Pitts was reported to have run a 9.6 100 and, of course, would have a long career in Green Bay.

Lombardi told Chuck Johnson on August 2 that Brewington “is big and strong, but has a long way to go.” Three days later, Brewington tackled diving backup quarterback Joe Francis in a scrimmage, and Francis injured his knee on the play. Francis was later waived and finished his career in the CFL. Brewington was eventually cut on August 28 after the third exhibition game, but was signed by Oakland where he appeared in all 14 games in 1961. He spent the bulk of his life as a gym teacher in his native North Carolina.

1961trwhittington  1961tjbrewington1961tepitts3

1961 Topps-style custom cards; Whittington (at his weigh-in) and Brewington are colorized.

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