Bob Monnett

All-around halfback Bob Monnett was born on February 27, 1910 in Bucyrus, Ohio. One of nine children, Bob starred in football, basketball and wrestling as a schoolboy and was able to secure a berth at Michigan State due to his athletic prowess. Playing under Coach Sleepy Jim Crowley, a Green Bay native, Monnett received All-America notice in 1931 and 1932 and signed with the Packers in 1933. Besides wanting to play for Crowley’s old coach Curly Lambeau, Monnett was motivated to come to Green Bay because of his familiarity with the Notre Dame Box offense used by both teams.

The 5’9” 180-pound Monnett was a threat as a runner, receiver and passer. He was the Packers’ second-leading passer for his entire six-year career, Behind Arnie Herber from 1933-37 and then trailing Cecil Isbell in 1938. Late in the ’38 season, Bob injured his back tackling Bronko Nagurski and that limited his availability until the championship game against the Giants in December. Monnett and several other Packers even spent a couple nights in the hospital recuperating from various ailments a few days before the title game. Despite Monnett’s 33-yard gallop in the third quarter that led to the Packers gaining a 17-16 lead, Green Bay lost that day.

Monnett retired to take a job as a civil engineer with the highway department in his native Ohio. In 1945, he became a sales rep. for the Galion Iron Works and worked there for the rest of his life. He died on August 2, 1978 after battling cancer for a decade. He was known as a civic leader and a quiet, strong family man. He was survived by his wife, three children and nine grandchildren. Bob Monnett is a member of the Packer Hall of Fame.

1933bmonnett  1934bmonnett

1935bmonnett  1936bmonnett

1937ybmonnett  1938bmonnett

phof1973bmonnett3  1951tbmonnett

All custom cards are colorized.

Majik Man Turns 56 Today

His name was pronounced Mah-KOW-ski, but he was known as the Majik Man, and for one thrilling season he was just that.  Don Majkowski was a quiet, private person off the field, but walked with a cocky swagger on it.  He separated his shoulder in his senior year at the University of Virginia and slipped off most teams’ draft lists.  The Packers picked him in the 10th round of the 1987 draft, and he even started five games as a rookie under Coach Forrest Gregg.  Offensive guru Lindy Infante replaced Gregg in 1988 and continued to cultivate Majkowski’s potential.

In 1989 the Majik Man emerged for the one great season of his 10-year NFL career.  He led the league in passing yards with 4,318 and led the team to a 10-6 record with 27 touchdown passes.  Five of those 10 victories were accomplished by virtue of a furious fourth quarter comeback led by Majkowski.  However, his greatest comeback of the year came in the third game of the year and was unsuccessful.  The Packers trailed the Rams 38-7 at halftime before Majkowski led the team to four second half touchdowns and a field goal only to lose 41-38 when Brent Fullwood fumbled at the Ram one yard line in the closing minutes.

Most of Don’s heroics had happier endings:

The Packers trailed the Saints 21-0 before coming back to win 35-34.  Majkowski completed 18 straight passes and threw a three-yard scoring strike to Sterling Sharpe with 55 seconds left to win that game by a point.

They were trailing the Falcons 21-6 going into the fourth quarter and won 23-21 on Chris Jacke’s 22-yard field goal with 1:42 left.

They beat the Lions 23-20 in overtime on another Jacke field goal.

Majik threw the winning touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with nine minutes left in a 20-19 victory over the Vikings that veteran cornerback Dave Brown preserved with two interceptions in the final four minutes.

Against Tampa, the Pack were behind 16-14 in the closing minutes when Majik threw an incomplete pass on fourth down.  Fortunately, a hands-to-the-face penalty on the Bucs gave Green Bay new life and Majik drove them to the Buc 30 where Jacke kicked a 47-yard winning field goal with no time left.

The Packers even handed the eventual Super Bowl champion 49ers a 21-17 loss in San Francisco, one of only two Niner losses all year.

The biggest comeback, though, was against the hated Bears.  Majkowski threw a fourth down 14-yard touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with 32 seconds left to pull out a 14-13 win. What made this one extra special was that it came down to instant replay.  Line judge Jim Quirk threw a penalty flag judging that Majkowski was past the line of scrimmage when he unleashed the pass.  After a lengthy delay to look at the instant replay, official Bill Parkinson overruled the call and ruled it a touchdown.  The Bears were so disgusted that they listed the game with an asterisk in their media book for years. The Packers stole the win that day, but could not steal into the playoffs, losing out on tiebreakers in that remarkable season.

Majkowski made the Pro Bowl in 1989 and sat out the opening game of the next season in a contract holdout.  When he got no free agent offers he joined a lawsuit against the NFL’s unfair labor practices that would eventually be successful.  While he achieved success off the field, on the field was a disaster.  Just as he was beginning to play well, Don was sacked hard on his shoulder in the tenth game of the year and would require rotator cuff surgery.  He would never be the same player again.  He returned in 1991 with diminished arm strength, injured a hamstring and missed half the season.  Majkowski won the starting job under new coach Mike Holmgren in 1992, but lost his slot to Brett Favre when he went down to an ankle injury in the third game of the year.  In 1993 he was a backup in Indianapolis; in 1995 he moved on to Detroit again as a backup.  After the 1996 season, he was released and drifted out of football.  For one brief, shining season, Majik was among the best quarterbacks in the league, but he never threw more touchdown passes than interceptions again.  While the team didn’t make the playoffs that year, they did provide enough thrills that Don Majkowski will always evoke fond memories from Packer fans.

(Adapted from Packers by the Numbers.)

1987tdmajkowski2  1988tdmajik

1989tdmajkowski  1990tdmajkowski2

1991tdmajikowski 1992dmajkowski

Custom cards in Topps style.

Packers Top Rookie: 2019


The Packers nine-man rookie class for 2019 is the smallest since 2003, with new GM Brian Gutekunst opting to focus on veteran free agents as a supplement to the draft. His predecessor, Ted Thompson, averaged 15.6 rookies per season in his 14 years in charge. That figure is inflated by the first and last two years of his tenure when Green Bay brought in from 20-24 rookies each season. In Thompson’s middle 10 years, the average number of first year men was 13.2–still a bit higher than Ron Wolf’s 11.4 figure.

Gutekunst selected Michigan pass rusher Rashan Gary with his initial first round pick and Maryland safety Darnell Savage with his second. They were followed by Mississippi State guard Elgton Jenkins in round two, Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger in round three, Texas A&M defensive lineman Kingsley Keke in round five, Toledo cornerback Ka’Dar Hollman and Notre Dame runner Dexter Williams in round six and TCU cornerback Ty Summers in round seven. The ninth rookie was free agent Tulane guard John Leglue who was signed off the Saints practice squad in December. Leglue was on the active roster for two weeks but did not appear in a game, so maybe we should call it eight rookies.

Hollman and Williams appeared in just four games and Sternberger just six, although Jace did start one. Summers and Keke were more active, appearing in 16 and 14 games respectively. Top pick Gary also appeared in all 16 games, but lined up for a disappointing 24% of defensive snaps as he slowly learned the defense.

The two picks that provided the most immediate satisfaction were Jenkins and Savage, both selected to the Pro Football Focus All-Rookie team. Jenkins appeared in every game and started all but two as he helped solidify the offensive line by showing great promise. Savage not only showed promise but proved an effective tackler and defender with 55 tackles, five passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two interceptions. Darnell Savage, who started all 14 games in which he appeared, is the Packers top rookie for 2019.

Custom card in Topps baseball style.

Bo Molenda

John J. “Bo” Molenda was born February 20, 1905 in Oglesby, Illinois. He graduated high school in Detroit, and matriculated at the University of Michigan in 1924. As the Wolverine fullback, he played with All-Americans Bennie Friedman and Bennie Oosterbaan in 1925 and 1926 as well as playing basketball and baseball for the school. In his three years at Michigan, though, Molenda repeatedly struggled to remain academically eligible and eventually left school in 1927 first to play professional basketball and then to join Red Grange’s gridiron New York Yankees in the fall.

After playing minor league baseball in the summer of 1928, Molenda began a second NFL season in New York before Curly Lambeau bought his contract that November. For the next 3.5 seasons, he was the Packers starting fullback, winning three titles and being named second team All-Pro in 1931. However, with the addition of rookie fullback Clarke Hinkle, Lambeau cut Molenda in September in 1932, and Bo signed with the Giants. Molenda played for New York for the next four years and then retired to become the team’s backfield coach in 1936. In New York, he was part of one championship team as a player and one as a coach.

Molenda spent six years as an assistant coach before joining the War effort in 1942. He eventually was sent to the Philippines where he spent 28 months, ten months longer than his tour was meant to be because his papers were lost. Bo later claimed that he ran into George Halas during this time, and Halas asked him if he would like to be sent home. Two weeks later, he was back in the States. He added, “That’s why I always liked George Halas.”

Lambeau signed Molenda as the Packers’ backfield coach in 1947, and he spent two seasons in that capacity before being fired in 1949. Bo spent that season on Ray Flaherty’s staff for the Chicago Hornets of the AAFC. When that league and team folded, Molenda became the athletic director and head football coach for tiny Menlo College in California from 1950 until he retired in 1969. The Oaks had some successful seasons in the ‘50s, but were outmanned as the ‘60s dragged on. He died on July 20, 1986 at the age of 81.

1928bmolenda  1929bmolenda

1930bmolenda  1931bmolenda

1932bmolenda  njsbmolenda

Custom cards all colorized.

A Card for Everyone: Len Ford

There are two Hall of Famers who spent just one season in Green Bay: Ted Hendricks and Len Ford. While Hendricks was in his prime as a Packer, Ford was sadly playing out the string. Ford was born February 18, 1926 in Washington DC. After a short stint in the Navy after high school. Ford enrolled at the University of Michigan and starred as an end for the Wolverines from 1945-47, winning a national championship as a senior.

Although the NFL’s color ban was dropped in 1946, Ford went undrafted by the league in 1948, but was selected in the second round of the AAFC’s draft by the Los Angeles Dons. Ford starred as a two-way player for LA for two seasons, catching 67 passes for eight touchdowns. When the leagues merged in 1950, Browns’ coach Paul Brown astutely acquired Ford’s rights and put him at right defensive end for the next eight years. The 6’5” 245-pound Ford loomed over the Brown’s defensive line like a prototype for Lawrence Taylor, three decades early. On film, Len is often standing like a linebacker as the right corner of the Brown’s stout five-man line, and in some games, you won’t see the opposing offense run to his side at all. He was a shutdown defensive end who was a quick, agile and powerful pass rusher, known for running over or hurtling blockers.

In that first NFL season of 1950, Ford missed half the year after an elbow shot from Cardinal fullback Pat Harder (later an NFL referee) broke Len’s nose, cheekbone and upper jaw. When Ford struck back, he was ejected from the game, although Commissioner Bert Bell later rescinded the fine that had been assessed to Ford. Courageously, Len returned to play in the NFL title game and help the Browns to a title win over the Rams. In Cleveland, Ford was a seven-time All-Pro, but when he began to slip, Paul Brown shipped him to Green Bay for a fourth round draft pick in 1958.

Besides the inevitable physical decline of the 32-year old, Ford also was battling alcoholism and lasted just one season as a Packer. In fact, he was cut before the season finale due to multiple broken fingers and never played again. In 1961, Ford sued the Packers for his last game’s salary ($916) and $10,000 in damages to his reputation, but no resolution was reported. For the last decade of his life, the divorced Ford served as a recreation director in Detroit before suffering a fatal heart attack in March 1972. He was survived by two daughters.

1958tlford7  1958tbblford

Custom cards are colorized.

A Few Comments from Johnny Blood

In the early 1970s, MacMillan published a series of team histories that each followed the same format: a large section on the team’s glory years, write-ups of some of the team’s greatest games, interviews with a handful of team notables and a wrap-up on the non-glory years. Ray Didinger wrote the volume on the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974, and one of his interview subjects was Johnny Blood.

While Blood mostly spoke of his three years as Pittsburgh’s player-coach, a few of his comments are of interest to Packer historians:

Who were the great embellishers among the sportswriters during your playing career?

Well, a fellow who did a lot of that stuff, dug me up out of the grave quite a few times, was the late Arthur Daley of the New York Times. He was always talking about me taking my life into my hands with my wild antics. Art was a great friend of mine; I enjoyed him very much. He didn’t paint the lily too much himself, but most of his information about me, it seemed, came at night from some guy at a restaurant telling him a story over a couple of drinks. Naturally, it never lost in the telling. You ask what my attitude about these stories was. My attitude was that’s their business, that’s how they make their living, so let them go if that’s what they want to talk about.

Do you remember the expression on Curly Lambeau’s face when came bouncing through the window [of his sixth floor room]?

He was startled, of course, but being around me that long prepared him somewhat. He saw a lot worse in pro football, I’m sure.

Well the last season I played for Lambeau, I held out. I told him I wouldn’t play for less than $175 per game. The Packers played a couple games without me and the Bears beat them bad once, so Lambeau met with me and we settled on $150. What’s that come to? That’s right, $1,800.

Relative to what I did for the ball club, I felt I was underpaid. Several other guys were making $200, such as Clarke Hinkle and Cal Hubbard, and I felt I was putting as many people in the stadium as they were. But I’m not a great man for bargaining. I understand the process, but I don’t have an appetite for it. The reason I held out in 1936 was Lambeau and I were at odds. We had been for two seasons, really. So that was my last year in Green Bay. The following year I went to Pittsburgh as a player-coach.

Actually the nicest compliment that was ever paid to me was by Cal Hubbard. He was asked to pick his all-time greatest team and he said, “If I had a twelfth pick. I’d pick Blood because he’s a clutch ball player.” I was very happy about that. I can’t think of anything I’d rather have said about me–that in the clutch, he produces.

1929jblood  1931jblood3

1932jblood2  1935jblood

1936jblood2  njsjblood

Custom cards all colorized.

A Card for Everyone: Ken Gorgal and Lloyd Voss

Voss and Gorgal not only share a birthday, February 13, but also spent the best parts of their careers outside of Green Bay.

Ken Gorgal, whose father Alex played fullback for the Rock Island Independents in 1923, grew up a Bears’ fan in Peru, Illinois. At Purdue University, he starred on both the gridiron and the baseball diamond at the close of the 1940s. Cleveland drafted him in the sixth round of the 1950 NFL draft, and Ken started at safety for the champion Browns as a rookie, intercepting six passes. After a two-year stint in the military, Gorgal returned to the Browns in 1953 and picked off four passes that year and one the next while winning another championship ring in 1954.

In 1955, Coach Paul Brown tired of defensive end Doug Atkins’ liberated attitude and dealt him and Gorgal to the Bears for two draft picks–a third and sixth that Brown used on end Larry Ross and tackle Sherman Plunkett, neither of whom ever played for Cleveland. It was an awful trade by Brown. Atkins settled into a Hall of Fame career in Chicago, while Gorgal pilfered six passes in his first year as a Bear.

In 1956, though, Gorgal’s career went up in smoke when he agreed to receive and distribute materials to his teammates from the fledgling NFL Players Association. According to Halas biographer Jeff Davis, Ken was cut when the anti-union Halas found out about the materials. The Packers claimed Gorgal on waivers, and he played the last five games of the year for Green Bay. Davis claims that Gorgal was blackballed by the league after that. With his career over, he became a successful insurance man who owned a membership on the Chicago Board of Trade. He passed away at age 87 on May 8, 2016, survived by his wife, four children, four stepchildren and eight grandchildren.

Minnesota-native Lloyd Voss played for the powerhouse 1963 Nebraska Cornhusker team that also featured Hall of Fame offensive tackle Bob Brown, future coach Monte Kiffin, All-Pro cornerback Kent McCloughan and future Packers Dennis Claridge and Tony Jeter. Voss was the Packers top pick in 1964 (13th overall) and a second rounder for the Jets (11th overall).

Vince Lombardi signed Lloyd and put him on the defensive line, where he was a reserve for two seasons, winning a ring in 1965. Pushed by rookie defenders Bob Brown and Jim Weatherwax in 1966, Voss was  traded with third round pick Tony Jeter to Pittsburgh for a first round pick in 1967 that turned out to be center Bob Hyland.

Voss started at defensive end for the Steelers for six seasons, including the first three of Chuck Noll’s long tenure. He then spent one season with the Broncos and one in the World Football League before retiring. He subsequently worked for the Allegheny Parks & Recreation department for 26 years.

When Lloyd passed away from liver and kidney problems at age 65 on March 1, 2007, he was remembered by Steeler roommate Andy Russell as, “one of those very dependable guys who did it just the way it was supposed to be done…he was a leader in the locker room.” Joe Greene added, “He was tough. Lloyd helped me a lot. He was the guy who helped me run the stunts, and I taught LC [Greenwood]…A lot of the stuff we learned from Lloyd.” He was survived by three children, two stepchildren and four grandchildren.

1956tkgorgal  1956tbbkgorgal

1964plvoss4  1964tlvoss

1965plvoss3  1965tblvoss2


Gorgal and Topps Voss custom cards are colorized.

Hall of Fame Congratulations

When Jerry Kramer was finally elected to the Hall of Fame two years ago, the question became who’s next? Which neglected former Packer is most deserving of pro football’s ultimate honor?

While Gale Gillingham is a name often bandied about, the chances of another member of the Lombardi Era getting in would appear to be very slim. Three other names were championed by various factions.

There has been a campaign for 1920s two-way end Lavvie Dilweg for over a decade. Dilweg received All-Pro notice eight times in his nine-year career and, with Guy Chamberlin, was one of the two finest wingmen of his era. Named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the ‘20s, he and guard hunk Anderson are the only two members of that squad not in the Hall.

However, team historian Cliff Christl forcefully advocated here for Dilweg’s teammate and backfield ace Verne Lewellen. Five-time All-Pro Lewellen was not only widely regarded as the finest punter of his time, a time in which field position was critical in team success, but he was also the leading scorer for his time. Official statistics were not kept prior to 1932, Verne’s final NFL season, but one figure that was tallied was touchdowns. Lewellen’s 51 was the league record until Don Hutson surpassed it a decade later.

Former Packer GM and football historian Ron Wolf’s opinion was that 1950s safety Bobby Dillon was the most underestimated Packer. Bobby was a five-time first team All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler whose 52 interceptions were the second most in league history at the time in retired. Although he primarily lined up at safety, Dillon also played cornerback at times to cover the opponent’s top receivers.

In this 100th season of the NFL, the Hall of Fame created a special Centennial Class of players who were judged to have been unfairly passed over. When the 15 player finalists were announced, Dilweg, Lewellen and Dillon were part of the group, as was passing tailback Cecil Isbell. On January 15, Dillon, who passed away last August, got the nod and will be inducted this coming August. He was a great Packer in some dark days for the franchise, and I am pleased he has been recognized at long last.

1955bdillon1  1952bsbdillon

1956tbdillon3  1957tbdillon5

1959tbdillon2  1958twbdillon

All custom cards are colorized.

Willie Wood, Rest in Peace

Lombardi’s Packers continue to hear the inevitable final gun. Willie passed away last week, and he will not be forgotten. Wood grew up in Washington D.C. and went west to go to college, starting at Coalinga Junior College before ending up at the University of Southern California.  At USC, Wood was a three-year letterman as a 5’10” running quarterback.  His position coach was Al Davis, future owner of the Raiders.  Wood broke his collarbone as a senior, and that was the third strike against the injured, undersized, black quarterback who went unclaimed in the 1960 NFL draft.  He and his high school coach Bill Butler started writing letters to professional teams requesting a tryout, but received no response until Jack Vainisi and Vince Lombardi of the Packers decided to give him a look.  Given a chance, he made the Packers in 1960, and it was his good fortune for two reasons.  Not only had he gotten in on the ground floor of the Green Bay glory years, but he got to spend two years with one-time free agent Emlen Tunnell who was winding down his career in Wisconsin.  Tunnell, who had been the premier safety in the league throughout the 1950s and would be the first black player inducted in the Hall of Fame, was a generous individual who became both roommate and mentor to Wood.  Willie would later say, “Em taught me everything”

Although Wood was listed as the team’s third quarterback after Joe Francis broke his leg, Willie made a strong impression in practice when he laid out Jim Taylor with a solid tackle.  Lombardi ordered the play run again, and Wood dropped the larger Taylor again.  Lombardi and the whole team were impressed with this little man’s toughness.  His first appearance on defense came in the sixth game of the 1960 season against Johnny Unitas and the Colts. Starter Jesse Whittenton got hurt, so Willie was inserted at left cornerback against All-Pro receiver Raymond Berry.  Wood repeatedly was beaten and eventually was replaced that day by Dick Pesonen.  After the game, Wood was badly shaken and uncertain about his future when Lombardi took him aside and told him to shake it off because he was going to be here as long as the coach was.  The coach had good reasons to have confidence in Willie Wood.  Although he was not extremely fast, he was very quick and a great leaper–he could dunk a basketball and played pickup hoop games against NBA star Elgin Baylor back in DC.  Wood was said to be able to touch the crossbar of the goal posts with his elbow. Beyond that, he was a smart player and became the surest tackler on the team.

In 1961, Willie won the starting free safety position replacing the aging Tunnell, and the Packers won their first title in 17 years.  Shades of his mentor, he intercepted five passes and led the league in punt returns with a 16.1 average return.  Two punts he took back for touchdowns.  The next year, he led the NFL in interceptions with nine and averaged 11.9 yards per punt return.  He also kicked off for the team. Oddly, he was ejected from the 1962 title game when he jumped up quickly to protest a penalty call and accidentally bumped into the official.

The most memorable moment of his career came in the first Super Bowl when he intercepted a Len Dawson pass early in the third quarter and returned it 50 yards to the Kansas City five.  Elijah Pitts scored on the next play, and the game was essentially over.  His teammates ragged Wood for being run down from behind by fellow USC alumnus Mike Garrett, but Willie was never known for his speed.  Willie still is the all-time team leader in most punt returns (187) and most fair catches (102), but after his first five years he wasn’t very effective at it.  His punt return averages in those first five years were 6.6, 16.1, 11.9, 8.9, and 13.3.  After that, he never averaged more than 5.3, and his overall average for the last seven years was a pitiful 3.8.

As his punt return talents dwindled, though, his safety skills became more highly respected.  Wood was named All-Pro for the first of six consecutive seasons in 1964.  In that same year, he was named to the first of eight straight Pro Bowls.  While he never approached Tunnell’s 79 lifetime interceptions, Willie trails only newly-minted Hall of Famer Bobby Dillon with 48 in 12 years as a Packer, and he returned two picks for touchdowns.

The Packers’ greatest free agent, Willie Wood, had the full respect of his teammates.  Fiery Ray Nitschke said, “I hate to miss a tackle because I know if I do, I’m going to get a dirty look from Willie.  He’ll kill you with that look.” Wood was a leader on a defense of stars so it was not surprising that he went into coaching after retiring as a player after the 1971 season.  He served two years as the defensive backs coach in San Diego before becoming the first black head coach of a professional football team with the Philadelphia Bell in the World Football League in 1975.  The Bell had a losing record that year before the entire league folded.  Willie got a second chance in the Canadian Football League when he took over the Toronto Argonauts from his former teammate Forrest Gregg in 1980. The talent-poor Argos went 6-20 over the next two seasons and Wood was fired.  Wood left football for business at that point and moved back to his hometown of DC.  He was elected to the Packer Hall of Fame in 1977, and his long-overdue induction to Canton occurred in 1989. Sadly, the last dozen years of this hard-hitting defender’s life were marred by a steadily darkening fog of dementia and were spent in an assisted living facility. He was 83 and is survived by three children.

(Adapted from Packers by the Numbers)

1960fwwood  1962fwwood

1963fwwood2  1964twwood2

1968alttwwood  1969xwwood2

1970kwwood   1971bwwood

Custom cards 1,2,5 and 8 are colorized.

A Card for Everyone: Ted Cook

Born on February 6, 1922 in Birmingham, Alabama, end Ted Cook had a brief but eventful career in Green Bay. The slender Cook played for the Crimson Tide as a sophomore and junior from 1941-42 and then went into the military in 1943. While playing service ball, Ted played in the 1944 Blue-Gray Game and the 1945 College All-Star Game. In fact, he once claimed in a wire service report that his greatest thrill, “occurred in the 1945 All-Star Game. I tingled all over upon being singularly introduced to the 100,000 fans along with 10 others in the Collegians starting lineup that night against the Green Bay Packers.” He caught one pass for nine yards in that game won by Green Bay 19-7.

Out of the army in 1946, Cook returned to Tuscaloosa for his senior year, catching passes from ace tailback Harry Gilmer. A year later, he signed with Detroit, but caught only seven passes as a rookie. In July 1948, Curly Lambeau traded draftees Bob Rennebohm and Howard Brown to the Lions for Cook and veteran center Frank Szymanski. Szymanski ended up in Philadelphia that year, and the two draftees never played in the NFL, but Cook was used extensively on defense for Green Bay and led the team with six interceptions.

In 1949, Ted played both ways for most of the year, averaging 50 minutes per game. He led the team in interceptions again with five, but also led the Packers in receptions with 25, despite missing three games on offense due to injury. That was through 11 games. On Sunday night, December 4, following a 30-0 loss to Washington, Curly Lambeau waived his top receiver/defensive back with one game remaining in the season. Although many of his teammates were aware of the release, Cook was not informed until noon on Monday. No reason was given, and Art Daley wrote a disbelieving piece that Wednesday in the Press Gazette.

The story then gets even stranger. Curly Lambeau left Green Bay to coach the Cardinals at the outset of 1950. In March, Lambeau signed Cook, the player he dumped, to a contract with Chicago. However, with the All-America Football Conference merger in place, the NFL held its first professional players draft in June to disperse the defunct league’s players who had not already been divvied up. Cook, as a free agent, was put into that pool of 218 players, and he was one of 150 selected.

Ted was picked in the sixth round by the new coach of his old team, Gene Ronzani, and rejoined Green Bay for the 1950 season. Other draftees to make the ’50 Packers were ends Al Baldwin and Ab Wimberly, halfback Billy Grimes and linebacker Carl Schuette. Cook was used on offense in 1950 and caught 16 passes that season. The following July, Ted retired to attend to his used car dealership in Alabama, but Ronzani continued to negotiate with him. Finally, in September, Ronzani traded Cook to Washington where he could reunite with Harry Gilmer, and  Green Bay received defensive end John Martinkovic in return.

Cook appeared in the Redskins final preseason game against the Packers on September 23, but then was cut from the squad two days later to end his football career. He returned to his car business and lived till the age of 84, passing away on October 16, 2006.

1948btcook2  1949ltcook2

1950btcook2  1950tftcook

All customized cards are colorized.