A lot of lesser Packers were born on March 19: Carl Barzilauskas, Mike Jolly, John Michels, Rick Mirer, Koren Robinson and Bob Summerhays, but there is one forgotten lineman from the dark days who deserves to be remembered, guard Rich Moran.
Moran’s father played defensive line for the Giants in the 1960s, and his brother Eric played tackle for the Oilers beginning the year prior to Rich being drafted in the third round by the Packers in 1985. Rich was by far the most successful player in the family, though, starting more games than his father and brother appeared in, combined, at the professional level. Rich also played on the same high school team as future Viking defensive tackle Keith Millard, and the two old friends had regular Central Division dustups in the late 1980s before Millard briefly joined the Packers in 1992.
At San Diego State, Moran was mostly a tackle, although he played some guard and center, too. Forrest Gregg drafted the 6’2” 275-pound Moran as a center, but when guard Keith Uecker injured his knee, Moran moved into the starting lineup at left guard as a rookie. In 1986, though, he injured the MCL in his knee and missed the last 11 games of the season. He returned as a starter in 1987 and helped form a strong left side of the line with Ken Ruetgers for the next three seasons, highlighted when Moran was named All-Pro for his very fine 1989 season. A 29-day holdout in 1990, though, caused him to lose his starting job to free agent Billy Ard, before he returned to top form as a starter in 1991.
Moran again injured his knee in the middle of the 1992 season and appeared in only three games in 1993 before retiring. When healthy, he was a consistent and productive guard who was known for his intensity. Teammate Brian Noble said of Rich, “He’s a nasty dude. He’s quick tempered. He snaps easily. I don’t think I’d ever want to tangle with him.” That passion added to his weight lifter’s strength and good speed to make an effective left guard. It was also his biggest downfall, though, as he was prone to getting out of control and being penalized at times. All in all, he was probably the team’s best guard in the long stretch from Gale Gillingham to Marco Rivera.
(Adapted from Green Bay Gold).
Custom cards in late 1980s styles.