A couple of Packers were born on Christmas Eve: disappointing current receiver Davante Adams and 1950s guard Al Barry. Let’s talk about Barry.
Al played for Southern California with Frank Gifford and Al Carmichael in the early 1950s and then got to play with both those college teammates in the pros as well. Al was drafted in the 30th round as a future pick in 1953 and joined the Packers in 1954. After one year as a starter, he was called into the service and did not return to the NFL until 1957 when he returned to Green Bay and again won a starting slot. In 1958, Al was traded to the Giants, where he started at guard for two years – the first under offensive coach Vince Lombardi. He finished his career with the fledgling Los Angeles Chargers for the AFL in 1960.
A few years ago, Barry self-published his memoirs called The Unknown Lineman and told several funny stories of his time in Green Bay, including ones about Paul Hornung, Max McGee and Hawg Hanner. My favorite story though was about Dick Afflis, or “Dick the Bruiser” as he was known in his wrestling career:
We were playing in Chicago and “Dick the Bruiser” told me before the kickoff, “Watch this, Al, see that number 52 on the kickoff return team? Watch me go down and cold-cock him and knock him out of the game.” Since this was a new experience for me, I watched carefully as “Dick the Bruiser” ran down the field and threw a mighty forearm into the head of number 52 and knocked him unconscious and they carried him out of the game. Right after that play Dick came up to me and said, “Welcome to the NFL.”
Would someone please assist Commissioner Goodell to his fainting coach, please? Commissioner, you’ll be happy to hear that the Bears did not have a number 52 in 1954. Of course, the Milwaukee Sentinel did report on Tuesday, November 9, two days after the Packer-Bear game at Wrigley Field, that George Halas stated that a record 22 Bears reported to the training room the day after the hard-hitting game for treatment of injuries suffered in the contest. Oh no, down goes Roger again.