The Packers employed six rookies in 1925, but only two would play pro football beyond that one season. The most famous rookie for Green Bay was Jim Crowley, one of Notre Dame’s famous Four Horsemen backfield for the previous three seasons. Crowley graduated from Green Bay East High School, where he was coached by Curly Lambeau during one season. Upon finishing at Notre Dame, Crowley took an assistant coaching job with the University of Georgia under Kid Woodruff in 1925. Once the Bulldogs finished their season, Sleepy Jim hooked on with his hometown Packers for the last two games of the year against Frankford on Thanksgiving and the Providence Steam Roller a week later. Crowley finished his brief NFL career by playing in one game for Providence that year as well.
Other one-year wonders among the rookies were Crowley’s Fighting Irish teammate George Vergara, an end and one of the Seven Mules that led the way for the Horsemen. Another end, Elmer Wilkins of Indiana, appeared in six games for the Packers. 5’7” “watch charm” guard George Abramson from Minnesota appeared in 10 games and booted two field goals as a Packer.
The two rookies who extended their pro careers were Wisconsin fullback Jack Harris, who spent two years in Green Bay, and Eddie Kotal, the “Lawrence Flash.” Kotal ultimately would have the greatest Packer career, scoring 10 touchdowns in a solid five-year stint and being named second team All-Pro in 1928.
However, the rookie who most likely had the greatest impact in 1925 was Vergara. He moved into the starting lineup at right end on opening day and was there all season, missing just one game after injuring his shoulder against the Bears. Although he returned for the last two games of the season. Vergara was forced to retire due to the injury but would spend more than two decades officiating college and NFL games. He and Crowley were later partners in an insurance agency, and George also served as Mayor of New Rochelle, NY in the 1950s.
Crowley told newsmen when the Packers signed Vergara, “Vergara is just the type that will make a name for himself on the pro gridiron. Although he weighs about 195, he can step off the hundred in less than eleven seconds. George is a wonder receiver of a forward pass. When he was playing end for Notre Dame, he was our ace receiver. I will be very much surprised if Vergara doesn’t turn out to be the greatest end that has ever played with the Packers.” George Vergara was the Packers’ top rookie in 1925.
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