Willie Davis: The Packers’ Dr. Feelgood
With the passing of another Lombardi-era Packer, one might take note of how many years we have behind us of wonderful sports memories, entertaining teams, and fascinating players. Willie Davis is one of those players who left a robust legacy that connected his Hall of Fame playing days with community.
Drafted in 1956 by the Cleveland Browns in the 15th round, Willie was committed to two years of military service, which may account for the Browns taking him so late in the draft. After two unspectacular years in Cleveland alternating at both defensive end and offensive tackle, Willie was traded to the Packers for the now forgotten A.D. Williams. Williams caught only one pass with the Browns before spending his final season with the expansion Vikings in 1961. Not a bad trade for the Packers.
Vince Lombardi quickly became a mentor to Davis telling him when the Packers traded for him, “I consider speed, agility and size to be the three most important attributes in a successful lineman. Give me a man who has any two of those dimensions, and he’ do ok. but give him all three, and he’ll be great. We think you have all three.”
Willie went on to have six All-Pro seasons including five Pro Bowl appearances to go along with five Championships. His nickname “Dr. Feelgood” was coined by roommate Jerry Kramer who noted that he never got injured.
Some quick but important achievements:
• He was one of four candidates considered for the NFL commissioner in 1989 to replace Pete Rozelle
• Was member of the Packers board of directors from 1994-2005
• Was an analyst on NBC for NFL games from 1970-1975
• Recorded 22 fumble recoveries, two safeties, and one touchdown
• Unofficially recorded over 100 sacks
• Played in 162 straight games (never missing even one in his 12-year career)
• He’s a member of the NFL 1960s All-Decade Team
• Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981
NFL films did an excellent video of him that can be found here.
Check out RetroCards.net for many of the cards shown above which can be found in many Packers RetroCards Sets.