Overdue Bills from Curly

On February 7, 1956, the Packers lost a decision in the Wisconsin Supreme Court and were ordered to pay $8,918 of back pay and interest to former tackle Clyde Johnson, who never actually played for Green Bay.

Curly Lambeau first encountered the 6’6” 270-pound Clyde Johnson when the Kentucky All-America played against the Packers in the College All Star Game in August 1944. Johnson, a fifth round pick of the Cleveland Rams, went into the military for the duration of the World War II and subsequently played for the Rams in Los Angeles in 1946 and 1947. Johnson originally signed a two-season contract with the Rams that essentially was guaranteed. The Rams had no interest in re-signing Johnson to a “season contract” but Curly Lambeau did.

On June 29, 1948, Lambeau gave the Rams a seventh round 1949 draft pick to acquire Johnson’s rights. He and Johnson agreed to a season contract for two years at $7,000 per annum. Johnson signed the contract and had Lambeau to write on the back of the contract:

$7,000 season 1948

Minimum $7,000 1949 season contracts E.L.L.

Johnson also had Lambeau agree to strike paragraph six (that allows the team to terminate the deal at any time) from the pact. However, when Johnson received his copy of the contract in the mail, paragraph 6 was still there. Lambeau assured Johnson not to worry about it

Johnson appeared in just two preseason games before being cut on September 16, 1948, having received only $100 in compensation during the preseason. He did catch on with the Los Angeles Dons in 1948 at a salry of $6,000.

The court judgment came six years after Lambeau resigned from Green Bay and eight years after Johnson had tried out unsuccessfully for the Packers. In the notes to the decision, the court also calls notice to a similar case adjudicated in 1950 in which Lambeau had handwritten “$3,600 for season” on a contract with guard Chuck Tollefson in 1946. Tollefson was cut early in the season and had to sue to get his full pay from the team as well.

1948bcjohnson  1946ctollefson

Both 1948 Clyde Johnson and custom 1946 Chuck Tollefson cards are colorized.

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