The 1955 Green Bay Packers - 6-6 (3rd - Western Conference)
Head Coach: Lisle Blackbourn
PACKERS SIGN 'SPIRIT' GUARD FROM COLGATE
APR 26 (Green Bay) - The Packers spirited away a spirit guy today – Don Tomanek of Colgate University and Johnson City, N.Y., High. Tomanek is an offensive guard and a candidate for the position vacated by Al Barry, a special friend of Breezy Reid. Coach Liz Blackbourn, announcing the signing of the free agent, has been informed that Tomanek ranks as one of the better guard in the east. The newcomer carries 235 pounds – 10 more than Barry, and stands six feet tall. Taking up where Barry left off won’t be an easy chore but Blackbourn feels that the Colgate star may have the qualifications to plug the gap. Barry was particularly effective, along with left offensive tackle Len Szafaryn, at opening holes for the aforementioned Mr. Reid who finished as the Packers’ leading ground gainer. Tomanek developed quite a reputation as a spirit player at Colgate. An untiring athlete, Tomanek came out of the infirmary after a tough bout with the flu one Friday in ’53 and played 60 minutes the next day against Bucknell – in the snow. Tomanek was a mainstay in the Colgate line for four years, including three at guard and one at tackle. He played a key role as a blocker in Colgate’s split-T formation. He works at tackle or linebacker on defense. Nicknamed “Cheta”, Tomanek was 23 years of age last Jan. 14. He was graduated last February with a degree in history. Tomanek was a three-sport athlete at Johnson City, competing in football, swimming and track. Carrying a heavy scholastic load, Tomanek did not participate in any other major sport at Colgate, except football, but was prominent in intramural track, bowling and wrestling…PACKER BITS: If Packer halfback Veryl Switzer is a wee bit tired these days, he has a good reason. The new assistant manager of Farah’s Liquor Store drove to Manhattan, Kansas Friday (800 miles away), played in Kansas State’s annual spring Alumnus game, jumped in his car and drove back to Green Bay, arriving Saturday night. Oh yes, Veryl scored the touchdown that gave the grads a 7-7 tie in the last few minutes. Incidentally, Switzer, a real popular guy at KS, was told that the Kansas State football team will watch the Packers play Baltimore in Milwaukee Oct. 9. KS will meet Marquette Saturday afternoon, Oct. 8, and stay over to watch their favorite pro Sunday…Karl Kluckhohn, the onetime Wausau Lumberjack baseball player who was drafted by the Packers, is now an assistant coach at Colgate – his alma mater.
MANPOWER! 43 BAYS ALREADY SET FOR 1955
APR 27 (Green Bay) - The Packers opened training last July with 43 players. As of today, Coach Liz Blackbourn has announced the signing of 43 players. Added up, the two paragraphs boil down to one word: Manpower! How many players Blackbourn will herd into Stevens Point next July is a gridiron secret – at the moment. This much is certain: There will be many more than 43 opening day! The current announcement list includes 16 athletes who have signed pro football contracts here or elsewhere before 1955; 15 draft selections; and 12 free agents. The pro list includes 10 who were Packers in ’54 – Al Carmichael, Clarence Self, Fred Cone, Clyde Sanders, Howie Ferguson, Deral Teteak, Buddy Brown, Gene Knutson, Tobin Rote and Dave Hanner; two who were Packers in ’52 and then went elsewhere – Bill Reichardt (service) and Floyd Harrawood (Canada); and four who played with other pro clubs – Jack Spinks, Pittsburgh, Sisto Averno, Baltimore, Gene Felker, Dallas, and Ernie Wickstrom, Chicago Cardinals. Signees of nearly 20 holdovers from the ’54 squad are still forthcoming which, incidentally, would skyrocket the roster to 63. Two of the ’54 Packers have announced their retirement – Clayton Tonnemaker and Trapper Stephenson. Another three have gone into service – Art Hunter, Al Barry and Bobby Garrett. Of the 24 available draft choices (six were underclassmen), 15 have been announced as signed, including top choice Tom Bettis, the Purdue guard who is a likely successor to Tonnemaker. The second and third choices, end Jim Temp of Wisconsin and halfback Buddy Leake of Oklahoma, are unsigned at present since they are both competing in baseball at their schools. Temp is the Badgers’ regular first sacker and Leake is Oklahoma’s shortstop. The choices signed are the first, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 14th, 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th, 20th, 25th, 26th and 27th. Three quarterbacks are among the dozen free agents – Johnny Coatta, the former Badger who almost joined the Packers two years ago before going into service; Pat Ryan of Holy Cross; and Jim Capuzzi of Cincinnati. With veteran QB Tobin Rote and draft choice QB Charlie Brackins in the fold, Blackbourn will go to camp with at least five signal callers. The Bays started with three last year – Rote, Elry Falkenstein and Bob Burkhart. Garrett was obtained from
MCGEE IN SERVICE; ROG ZATKOFF SIGNS
APR 29 (Green Bay) - The Packers were in the market today for a pass catching end who can snare 35 or 40 passes for nine or 10 touchdowns and a punter who can average over 40 yards. In case you haven’t heard or guessed, Max McGee, an athlete who did the above things as a Packer rookie in ’54, is now in service. He’s a second lieutenant in the Air Force and is presently training as a jet pilot at Lackland Air Force base just outside San Antonio. Coach Liz Blackbourn wasn’t available for comment this morning but members of his staff, Tom Hearden, Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, said “he was quite concerned.” Liz was to give an address at the Milwaukee Athletic Club this noon and offensive coach Ray McLean was in New Hampshire where his father recently suffered a stroke. Blackbourn had hoped that the departure of McGee could be delayed at least a season – until a suitable replacement could be found. The McGee news was tempered somewhat today by the signing of Roger Zatkoff, the Packers’ all-pro linebacker, who will be returning for his third season. Loss of McGee automatically makes last year’s No. 3 offensive end, Gary Knafelc, the No. 2 prospect for ’55. Billy Howton, the No. 1’er, is expected to return. Knafelc, the Chicago Cardinals’ No. 2 draft choice a year ago, was cut loose by the Cards early last season in the now-famous Cardinal player purge and was promptly snapped up by the Packers. A long one at 6-5, Knafelc was used briefly, catching five for 48 yards, but showed flashes of form in practice and in his few games appearances. The Packers went light on offensive ends in the ’55 draft, picking two of them – Jim Jennings of Missouri and Bob Peringer of Washington State, but both are already signed. McGee never played end during his college career at Tulane but had a good reputation as a pass catcher from a halfback and/or fullback position. With the Packers he caught 36 passes for 614 yards and nine touchdowns. His longest gain was an 82-yard TD reception from Tobin Rote at Detroit Last Thanksgiving Day. McGee was off to a slow start with his punting but finished the season with an average of 41.7 for fifth in the league behind Pat Brady, Horace Gillom, Norm Van Brocklin and Tom Landry. McGee is the fifth rookie from the ’54 squad to enter service. Leaving earlier were Al Barry, Art Hunter, Bobby Garrett and Gene White. All were regulars except Garrett who understudied Rote. Zatkoff broke in with the Packers in’53 after playing tackle and linebacker at Michigan for three seasons. He was used as a defensive end some as a Packer rookie, in addition to linebacking, but last fall stayed at LB’er, and developed into one of the meanest and toughest in the league. He was chosen to play in the pro bowl game. Blackbourn said that Zatkoff was among the players who ranked the highest in the coaches’ complicated rating system. In preparing the ratings, the coaches judge each athlete on every play in every game from game movies. Zatkoff packs 215 pounds and stands 6-2. He turned 24 last March 25. He is married and has three daughters, and recently purchased a home in a Detroit suburb. He teaches in a Detroit public school system in the “after season”.
MCGEE HARD TO REPLACE BY COACHING: LIZ
MAY 2 (Green Bay) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn explained the loss of end Max McGee this way today: “It’s a killer. There are two positions that are hard to fill by coaching – quarterback and end. The players in these positions have special skills inherent in them, skills that are hard to develop through coaching. It is difficult to teach an end or halfback how to maneuver for pass catching – one of McGee’s special skills.” Thus, Blackbourn and his staffmen, Tom Harden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus, had their work cut out today – finding and/or developing a successor for McGee who presently is getting his feet on the ground in the Air Force…MADE OVER FROM HB: McGee actually was made over when he entered pro ball a year ago. He was a halfback at Tulane with a special skill as a pass catcher and, if you will, maneuverer. Blackbourn drafted him to play end and Max responded with 36 catches and nine touchdowns. Who will replace McGee? “We’ll work with Knafelc and see what the two new boys, Peringer and Jennings, can do,” Liz pointed out. Gary Knafelc displayed flashes of promise as a rookie last year but played little because of the presence of McGee and Bill Howton. Knafelc came to the Packers from the Chicago Cardinals. Jim Jennings of Missouri and Bob Peringer of Washington State, recommended by ex-Packer Roger Grove, are draft choices and have signed…While player matters are fairly well set, Blackbourn is busy these days cleaning up other details for the ’55 campaign. This morning he worked out plans to have the Packers’ league and non-league games scouted – a rather difficult task with the exhibitions because they are played in non-league cities. Three of the club’s six non-loopers were revealed over the weekend – the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Aug. 13; the Cleveland Browns in the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio, Saturday night, Aug. 20; and the Washington Redskins in Winston-Salem, N.C., Saturday night, Sept. 10…Blackbourn and his aides went on their own version of “daylight savings: time today, starting at 8 o’clock instead of the usual 8:30. They’ll leave at 4 o’clock in the afternoon instead of the usual 4:30, permitting golf, fishing and all the relaxation possible before the big grind starts July 16. The coaches will work in their vacations before the opening of camp.
PACKERS SCHEDULE EXHIBITION GAME
MAY 2 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers will meet the NFL champion Cleveland Browns in an exhibition game at Akron, OH August 20. The game is the third pre-season exhibition announced by the Packers. They will meet New York in Spokane, WA August 13 and Washington at Winston-Salem, NC September 10.
UNCLE SAM HAS MAKING OF OFFENSIVE LINE – FROM PACK
MAY 3 (Green Bay) – Uncle Sam has the making of a good offensive line – at the expense of the Packers. Now the trick is to get the threesome on the same team, but this might require orders from fairly high up since one of the individuals is in the Army and the other two are in the Air Force. The three of whom we speak today are left end Max McGee and left guard Al Barry of the AF and right tackle Art Hunter of the Army. They were good enough to make the majors as rookies last year, which means that they’ll have no trouble cutting the service football buck. Hunter already has been dispatched to Fort Ord, Calif., which, from past records, does quite well in football. Barry turned up at Bolling Air Force base in Washington, D.C. – another noted football center, judging by past performances. McGee is presently being baptized at Lackland Air Force base in Texas, awaiting transfer to a jet base. Max probably won’t see football action next fall since he’s scheduled to be a jet pilot. Another former Packer, Bobby Garrett, has been sent to Castle Air Force base in California where the public relations department didn’t wait long to get a picture of Bobby pitching a football along with former Southern Calif. QB Ed Demirjian. Barry saw a few familiar faces when he reported at Bolling – Menil Mavraides, the Philadelphia Eagles’ guard; Johnny Lattner, Pittsburgh’s halfback; and Joe Moss of the Washington Redskins. The whole crew probably will be playing on the same team next fall…WHITE TO GO NEXT: The Packers aren’t playing all “give” with Bolling. Coming out of that base and already signed is former Packer fullback Bill Reichardt, who will perform next season as a halfback. In all, Coach Liz Blackbourn has noted the loss of four outstanding rookies from the ’54 team and a fifth, defensive halfback Gene White, who is expected to go in next month.
FAST HARGROVE ZOOMS PACKER STOCK AT LHB
MAY 4 (Green Bay) - Lt. Lauren Hargove of Tank Company, 86th Infantry Regiment at Fort Riley, Kan., has signed a Packer contract for ’55, Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced today. Hargrove was the Packers’ eighth draft choice in ’53 but Uncle Sam snapped him up after he labored a week in the Green Bay grid camp. The latest signee is a halfback from Georgia – and a fast one. He once did the 100-yard dash in 9.7 in his only season of track at Georgia. Hargrove, a lefthanded passer and kicker who doesn’t particularly specialize in those departments, will report late – sometime in August when he expects to be separated from service, thus completing two years of duty. Hargrove, who stands 6-3 and carries 195 pounds, will bump into an old school chum when he reports to Stevens Point – one Breezy Reid, also a former Georgia star. Lauren was a freshman there in ’49 when Breezy was running wild as a senior. Actually, the two ex-Bulldogs will be rivals since Hargrove will be tried at left half – the position at which Reid led the Packers in ground gaining last fall. Backing up Reid last year was rookie Joe Johnson, who is expected back again next fall. Blackbourn is looking forward to Hargrove’s speed. The 25-year old Georgian’s biggest asset has been his swift –on the takeoff and in the straightaway. Hargrove managed 133 yards in 33 trips in his sophomore season at Georgia in ’50 and then led the squad the next year, rolling up 422 yards on 89 attempts for an average of 4.7 and four touchdowns. One of his greatest games was against Auburn, running 84 yards for a touchdown and finished with 167 yards. He was handicapped by an ankle injury in his senior year and carried only 15 times for 38 yards. He did not play football in service because his regiment did not field a team…KICKS EXTRA POINTS: Oddly enough, Hargrove is a gifted extra point kicker but his talents never were put to use at Georgia. The No. 1 booter there was Bobby Walston, Philadelphia Eagles’ end and kicking expert. Hargrove had a sensational high school career at Fitzgerald, Ga., scoring 478 points in four years to win honors on the All-America prep team. When Fitzgerald played Decatur High of Atlanta for the state Class A championship, Hargrove scored 20 points in four minutes as Fitzgerald won the title 20-19.
TIMBERLAKE REJOINS PACKERS
MAY 5 (Green Bay) - The Packers had one dozen guards and/or linebackers in the fold today with the signing of George Timberlake of Southern California. And Coach Liz Blackbourn expects to make it a baker’s dozen in June when Charley Bryant of Nebraska finishes his spring sports. Timberlake, the Bays’ third draft choice in ’54, will be taking his second crack at Packer employment when practice opens at Stevens Point in July. Timberlake joined the club after playing in the College All Star game last August but suffered a broken wrist in practice. Blackbourn advised him to lay off for the rest of the season and make a new start in ’55. Timberlake made his name at linebacker and he’ll try to win his pro spurs at that position, although he was considered a top-flight offensive guard. He carries 218 pounds on a 6-2 frame. Timberlake earned three football letters at Southern Cal and won numerous All-America honors. He was a teammate of Packer halfback Al Carmichael in the 1953 Rose Bowl game, in which Wisconsin was beaten 7-0. Since leaving the Bays, Timberlake, 22, served as director of a boys’ club in his native Long Beach, Calif. With the exception of Bryant, veteran Steve Ruzich and a sleeper here and there, the guard and linebacker positions seem to be fairly well set. At least to a point where Joe Phan can start figuring if the Packers might or might not improve at those two spots! At offensive guard, for instance, Blackbourn and his line coach, Lou Rymkus, are looking first for someone to fill the hole vacated by former left guard Al Barry of Air Corps. The right guard starter, Buddy Brown, has signed for ’55….BETTIS FOR TONNEMAKER: This linebacker spot also has a highly-thought-of departee – Clayton Tonnemaker, who has decided to retire from the spot. Blackbourn made his first draft pick, Tom Bettis of Purdue, a possible successor to Clayton, who also was a first selection – back in ’50. Bettis, a 225-pounder, is considered a good bet to fill the gap left by Tonnemaker, although Clayton as captain also was a powerful morale force in practice as well as during games. Two veteran linebackers have signed – rugged Roger Zatkoff, an all-pro last fall, and Deral Teteak, the Wisconsin battler whose ’54 season was all but ruined by a broken ankle suffered in training camp. The only rookie linebackers set other than Bettis and Timberlake are a couple of darkhorses – Jan Smid, a 205-pounder from Illinois, and John Nitz, 218, of South Dakota State.
PACKER DRILLS 67 DAYS AWAY; COACHES, GUESTS TALK FOOTBALL ON MAVOURNEEN
MAY 9 (Green Bay) - Packer practice opens two months from next Monday. Which means that there are 67 days left in what the players call the offseason and the coaches call the getting ready time. Well ahead of themselves in preparations, the Packer coaching staff experienced a well-deserved day off Saturday to enjoy a day of relaxation on Atty. Vic McCormick’s elegant Mavourneen, a palatial yacht. The party, which boarded the craft at Snug Harbor in Sturgeon Bay, was made up of Head Coach Liz Blackbourn and aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean and Lou Rymkus, Packer President Russ Bogda, Packer executive committee members Bernard Darling and Max Murphy, Packer Publicist Bonnie Ryan, Clair Stone, Harold Cross, Charley Brock, McCormick and the writer. The “football sailors” got an unusual treat in that the graceful Mavourneen was subjected to 25-mile winds at times on a cruise up the bay, then back to Sturgeon Bay and then out into Lake Michigan via a channel which slices the peninsula. McCormick had hoped to take the group to Washington Island, but the winds farther north (not to mention storm warnings) were considered too strong by Capt. Fred Sorenson, although the yacht is highly capable of handling a heavy sea. McCormick annually cruises to Georgian Bay in Canada, which requires crossing Lake Michigan. The Mavourneen was tied in at Snug Harbor in the afternoon and the guests spent the remainder of the day chatting about football, eating two excellently-prepared meals by Steward Ray Wood, playing cards, and listening to the Kentucky Derby. And it was Blackbourn’s lucky day. He pulled Swaps in a derby pool. While Liz is an optimist, he isn’t inclined to go out on a limb – especially on the matter of a football team’s performance the next season. But the non-coach members of the party couldn’t help but be wild with the kind of enthusiasm that makes Green Bay the football town that it is and keeps Packer fortunes alive. At one stage, the discussion got around to “how wonderful it is to live in Green Bay because of the football.” As somebody said, “Just what would we, and everybody else in Green Bay and area, do without the Packers? Sure, we’d take a trip to Milwaukee to see a Marquette game and we’d take in a Wisconsin game. That would be fine but we’d have no real personal interest like we have now when the Packers are playing.” The consensus: It’s great to have the Packers, let’s never let ‘em get away!
PACKERS PLANT 14-TACKLE BRYANT AT CORNER LB'ER
MAY 10 (Green Bay) - Any player who can make 14 clean tackles while his team is getting shellacked 55 to 7 deserves to be drafted and given an opportunity to make a pro football team. That, in brief, is the story of Charles (Bruzzy) Bryant, who signing of a ’55 Packer contract was announced today by Coach Liz Blackbourn. It was rather difficult for offensive backfield coach Ray McLean to find some gold nuggets in the Nebraska lineup that underwent a 55-7 overhauling by Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl last Jan. 1. But he did notice the tremendous aggressiveness on the part of Bryant, a six-foot, 197-pound offensive guard and linebacker. When the figures at the end of the game showed that Bryant had made 14 tackles, McLean recommended that he be drafted. Blackbourn selected the Omaha Negro on the 24th round and announced, at the time, that ‘we’ll try him at corner linebacker.” Today, Liz said, “We’ve still got him down for that position.” Bryant will join two other Packer draftees, Johnny Crouch and Doyle Nix; veterans Clarence Self and Jim Psaltis, and several free agents in the fight for corner LB’ing duty. Bryant was the only All-American nominee at Nebraska. His teammates gave him special honor by selecting him captain for the Cornhuskers’ final game in ’54 – against Pittsburgh. Gifted with surprising speed, and particularly aggressive, Bryant led the squad on offense and defense all last season. In addition, he was usually first down under punts and kickoffs. He played three seasons of football at Nebraska and also was a member of the Cornhuskers’ powerful wrestling team, working as a heavyweight. Bryant first gained his name in athletics at South High in Omaha where he won all-state honors in football…SEVENTH NEGRO SET: Bryant, who was 22 last April 27, is the seventh Negro athlete signed thus far by the Packers. Blackbourn has announced the signing of 48 players thus far, including 12 guards and/or linebackers, 11 halfbacks, seven tackles, six fullbacks, five ends, five quarterbacks and two centers.
LIZ CITES NEED FOR PACKER SQUAD RETURNING AS UNIT
MAY 10 (Green Bay) – Green Bay Kiwanis Club members, in their annual visit from Packer Head Coach Lisle Blackbourn at Hotel Northland Monday noon, listened to an early preseason discussion of Packer plans and team policies for the 1955 season. Blackbourn touched on the principal Packer player needs of the season, as reflected in the National league draft procedure, and pointed to the continuing necessity of filling gaps in the Green Bay team from season to season. “It is necessary to have a team return as a unit once or twice before we can expect an advance in the standings, or find ourselves in the position of keeping the team in contention,” he said. Blackbourn pointed to Tom Bettis, Purdue linebacker who’ll be used as a replacement for Clayton Tonnemaker, and Jim Temp, the 245-pound Wisconsin end, as men upon whom considerable attention will fall this season. He related several anecdotes pertaining to the signing of veterans and free agents, and explained the new training procedure by which rookies will report to camp a week early this summer. Blackbourn was introduced by Packer President Russ Bogda. Players Dave Hanner and John Martinkovic also were guests.
'LEADING' RECEIVER TO SEEK MCGEE'S JOB
MAY 11 (Green Bay) - Can you imagine a player leading his team in pass catching with only nine receptions for a full season? The only answer is that said team didn’t throw many passes. The player’s name is Bob LaRue, a 6-3, 200-pound offensive end who was completely overlooked in the January draft shuffle because he never had much chance to show his stuff. You see, his school, Oklahoma A. and M., just didn’t have a passer. The Aggies used the single wing and spent most of the time rushing the ball, giving LaRue a chance to polish up on his blocking, practice his maneuvering on fake passes and hope that the tailback might forget and actually throw the ball. The 49th player announced as signed by Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn, LaRue is due for a pleasant awakening when he starts practice next July 16. He’ll have more passes thrown to him in one practice that he did in two seasons of games at A. and M. Blackbourn has placed LaRue in the “possible-successor-to-McGee” file. The newcomer will join with rookies Jim Jennings and Bob Peringer, veteran Gary Knafelc and several late comers in the fight for Max McGee’s berth – a slot that accounted for nine touchdowns last fall. Max is presently training as a jet pilot in the Air Force. Free agent LaRue comes highly recommended. His coach, J.B. Whitworth, feels that he’s a “natural as a pass catcher but we just didn’t have anyone who could throw the ball for two years.” Last fall, LaRue caught nine for 106 yards – an average of nearly 12 per. In 1953, the new Packer nailed 12 for 122 yards – one for a touchdown. He scored another TD in ’53 by recovering a blocked punt. LaRue was also quite a star as a defensive end, though his weight might be against him at that position with the pros – another reason why the “pay” boys overlooked him. His real talent, Blackbourn has been informed, is his ability to catch passes. LaRue, who turned 22 years of age last Jan. 4, hails from Clinton, Okla., where he starred in high school track and football. In college, LaRue also competed in track, pole vaulting 12 feet, 6 inches – one of the top marks in the Valley conference. LaRue is the sixth end signed thus far.
STATE DOWN TO TWO MAJOR LEAGUE TEAMS; HAWKS LEAVE
MAY 12 (Green Bay) - Wisconsin is down to two major
PACKERS' AMUNDSEN IN ARMY
MAY 18 (Green Bay) - Norm Amundsen, the Wisconsin guard, Packer sixth draft choice and possible successor to serviceman Al Barry, is in the Army. Loss of Amundsen, who already had signed for the '55 season, "reduces our chances of finding a capable successor to Barry," Coach Liz Blackbourn said today. Blackbourn said he had hopes that one of the two high choice guard choices would make it - "all the better if they both could." The other guard is Hank Bullough, the Michigan Stater who was drafted No. 5. Both Bullough and Amundsen had good reputations as offensive guards in the Big Ten last fall. Amundsen stands 5-11 and packs 222 pounds, and Bullough, also signed, measures 6, 220. Blackbourn has 12 names on his signed guard list but, alas, all are not offensive guards. Only six carry that rating - Bullough, returnee Buddy Brown, Sisto Averno who saw service with Baltimore, Marv Swentnofske of Marquette, Don Tomanek of Colgate and Amundsen, who won't be available. The remaining half dozen are linebackers - Tom Bettis of Purdue, Jan Smid of Illinois, George Timberlake of Southern California, John Nitz of South Dakota State, Charley Bryant of Nebraska and veteran Deral Teteak. Amundsen is the first loss to the services among the rookie and, Blackbourn commented, "we lost a few about this time last year, too." Liz is keeping his fingers crossed for some of his other draft picks. The Packers already have lost five veterans from the '54 squad, all of whom would have played important roles next fall: tackle Art Hunter, end Max McGee, defensive halfback Gene White, quarterback Bobby Garrett and Barry....From the ticket department, director Carl Mraz announced that the ducat office at 349 S. Washington is being flooded with the return of season ticket renewal cards which were mailed out recently to past season ticket holders for league games in Green Bay. Mraz emphasized today that all renewal cards must be in the Packer office by June 1 in order to guarantee the same seats as were held last year. Those not wishing to renew their applications for the coming season should also notify the Packer office so that those seats can be allocated to new season ticket buyers. Renewal cards for the league games in Milwaukee will be mailed out in the near future. The Packer office is also accepting paid orders for individual games but those tickets will not be distributed until a later date. The Packer office is open weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 12 noon.
PACKERS SNARE SAM MORLEY
MAY 19 (Green Bay) - The Packers picked off one free agent today - a famous one named Sam Morley. And Coach Liz Blackbourn announced that the former Stanford All-American and favorite passing target of Bobby Garrett will join the fight for the berth vacated by Max McGee. Morley, who's built similar to the Air Forcer McGee - at 6-3, 185, isn't a stranger to pro ball. He was the Washington Redskins' 20th draft choice a year ago, played in several exhibitions and then was released after the Redskins' second league opener; he had been bothered by injuries. Blackbourn is anxious to see if Morley can make the pros in his second try. The ace pass receiver is convinced that he's capable of playing for pay and Liz is willing to give him a shot. Morley is joining a five-man fight for the McGee position, which produced nine touchdowns last fall. Others in the running are Gary Knafelc, who is expected to return for his season season, and rookies Bob LaRue of Oklahoma A. and M., Jim Jennings of Missouri and Bob Peringer of Washington State. Morley is one of six college players who have been credited with more than 100 pass receptions in a three-year period - at least since such statistics were started about 15 years ago. Sam's total for three seasons of nailing Garrett passes is 102...THIRD IN NATION: As a sophomore in '51, Morley caught 17 for 228 yards and one touchdown. In 1952, he snared 40 for 523 yards and six touchdowns. He grabbed 45 for 594 yards and six TDs in '53, helping himself and Garrett to All-American rating. Garrett finished first in the nation in passing for '53 and Morley was third behind John Carson of Georgia and Ken Buck of College of Pacific. Morley, who turned 23 a week ago today, hails from South Pasadena, Calif., where he played high school football and basketball. He's studying law at Stanford presently and is living in San Moreno, Calif., which is also Garrett's hometown. Morley will be married June 26. Unfortunately, the Garrett-to-Morley combo won't be revived next fall. Bobby presently is in the Air Force...Jim Temp, the Packers' second draft choice, was named Wisconsin Athlete of the Year by fellow athletes at a Badger banquet in Madison last night. Temp, who hails from La Crosse, was an outstanding end at Wisconsin and is presently captain of the baseball team. He has played first and third, the outfield and also caught in his four-year career. Jim, an end who stands 6-4 and packs 225 pounds, is expected to sign with the Packers after the Badger baseball campaign ends at Kenosha May 28.
BETWEEN THE LINES - GENE RONZANI
MAY 19 (Racine) - Gene Ronzani, former Marquette and Chicago Bear football star and coach of the Green Bay Packers, in Racine "peddling steel". In other words, he's sales representative for a big steel firm, which seems to be one of the favorite landing places for headliners when they forsake sports-for-pay, for one reason or another. Among other "steel peddlers" well known to football followers hereabouts is Tony Canadeo, the ex-Packer star who shone as "The Grey Ghost of Gonzaga".
NAME TEMP BADGERS BEST
MAY 19 (Madison) - James Temp of La Crosse, closing out his four-year career as a member of the Badger football and baseball teams, was named "Wisconsin's athlete of the year" by fellow athletes Wednesday night. University "W" members selected Temp, an outstanding end on the gridiron and baseball captain, who has played first and third bases, the outfield and also caught. Temp was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in January. He is expected to sign after the Badger baseball campaign ends at Kenosha May 28. A big fellow, Temp stands 6-4 and weighs 225 pounds.
PACKER FB FIGHT DEVELOPING; HLAY SET
MAY 20 (Green Bay) - A fierce fullback fight is in prospect for the Packers. Seven battering rams have been signed already, including the two holdover regulars from last year - Howie Ferguson and Fred Cone. Latest to join the battle is John Hlay of Ohio State, whose inking was announced today by Coach Liz Blackbourn. Hlay, a 220-pound Croatian, was drafted No. 16 by the Packers in '53. Uncle Sam called him into the Army before he had a chance to consider pro football; he was discharged last winter and presently runs a trophy shop in Columbus, O. Until unseated somewhere along the non-conference trail, Ferguson and Cone remain as the best fullback bets for next fall. Ferguson carried the load last year and turned up as the league's top pass catching fullback. Cone specialized mostly in field goals and extra points kicking. Besides Ferguson, Cone and Hlay, Blackbourn and his offensive backfield coach, Ray McLean, will view rookies Bob Clemens of Georgia and Jim Oliver of Louisiana Tech; Clyde Sanders, the Bethune-Cookman unknown who almost made the squad last year; and Jack Spinks, former Pittsburgh Steeler and Chicago Cardinal. Spinks is the heaviest of the lot - at a Motleyish 238. Clemens and Hlay each pack 220; Sanders 215; Ferguson 210; Oliver 207, and Cone 200. Actually, the Packers have an eighth fullback
PACKERS SIGN BADGER JIM TEMP FOR DEFENSIVE END
JUN 1 (Green Bay) - “A strong boy with good size and great competitive nature, he should do well with us as a defensive end.” That’s how Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn today sized up his newest signee – Jim Temp, the “athlete of the year” at Wisconsin and the Packers’ No. 2 draft choice. Temp, regular first baseman on the Badger nine, didn’t wait long to sign his grid contract. Wisconsin played its final baseball game Saturday. There was considerable speculation earlier that Jim might wait out baseball offers before decided between the two sports. Although he could still switch to baseball, Temp indicated his preference by signing a Packer pact almost as soon as his college action was over. Temp, who stands 6-4 and packs 230 pounds, will be confronted with three veteran defensive ends when training opens in Stevens Point next month – John Martinkovic, Stretch Elliott and Gene Knutson, but Blackbourn feels that the big Badger has the stuff to make it…CAUGHT 13 VS. MSC: Temp won four letters in football at Wisconsin, starting in 1951. He worked as an offensive end as a freshman and sophomore and then played both ways in ’53 and ’54. Oddly enough, Temp, despite his pass catching ability, was a standout on defense in his last two seasons. One of his greatest games was against Michigan State last fall. He held the Spartans to a minus yardage around his end and caught 13 passes for 81 yards and one touchdown – the only score in Wisconsin’s 6-0 victory. Temp also earned three letters in baseball, batting around .300 in his three campaigns. He was honored early this spring by being selected to represent the United States in the Pan American games. Temp was named Wisconsin’s athlete of the year at the school’s recent all-sports banquet. A native of La Crosse, Temp captained football, basketball and baseball teams in his senior year at La Crosse Aquinas. He won all-state in football and basketball, copping the cage honor in the state Catholic tournament at St. Norbert College. Temp will turn 22 next Oct. 14. He graduates from Wisconsin this month with a degree in economics…SEVEN OF FIRST NINE SET: With the addition of Temp, Blackbourn now has signed seven of his first nine draft choices. One of the two can’t be signed – halfback Paul Reynolds of Notre Dame, who was traded to the Cleveland Browns in the deal that brought the Packers Jerry Helluin a year ago. The other unsignee in the first nine is halfback Buddy Leake of Oklahoma, the third choice. Leake, like Temp a baseball player, is weighing an offer to play football in Canada.
FB PINO SIGNS PACKER PACT; SWITCHED TO HB
JUN 2 (Green Bay) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced the signing of a five-foot-eight-inch college fullback today and quickly shifted him to halfback. The newest arrival is Sam Pino, a 195-pound ball carrier from Boston University, who ranked fourth in ground gaining in the nation in ’54. Pino, the Packers’ 29th draft choice, will remind a lot of folks of Walt Schlinkman, the former Packer fullback who stood 5-8 ½ and packed 190 pounds. Pino is probably more versatile than Walt, who was chiefly a plunger, since he possesses a bit of scat-back despite his barrelish appearance. Pino is also rated as a better than average pass receiver. Despite his low stature in the draft – not to mention his own lack of height, Pino comes highly recommended. Tom Dowd, a National league official who also works college games in the New England area, calls Sam “as good a running fullback I’ve seen all season – college or pro.” Pino received the Bolger-Lowe award after last season for being named “the outstanding college player of the New England season.” Pino established two all-time ground gaining records at Boston U – 933 yards in ’54 and 1,636 yards in a three-year career. The Boston hero carried 154 times last fall for an average of 6.06. His yardage total topped all fullbacks in the country, and he was among the country’s top scorers with 10 touchdowns. Pino played at Boston U as a sophomore in ’50 and rolled up 35 yards. He spent the next two seasons in the Marines but returned in ’53 to gain 253 yards in 66 trips, setting the stage for his big senior campaign. Pino is Italian all the way since both his parents were born in Messina, Italy. He has seven brothers and four sisters. Pino, who turned 25 last March, played high school football in Somerville, Mass., where he rushed for over 900 yards in three years. Signing of Pino just about wraps up the draft list – with one important exception, halfback Buddy Leake of Oklahoma, the No. 3 choice. Leake is shortstop and captain of the Oklahoma baseball team, competing in the NCAA district playoffs with Oklahoma A. and M. Oklahoma won its opener last night and needs one more win in the two out of three series to gain the NCAA finals, which start June 10. Thus, Blackbourn will delayed until after that date before any official announcement can be made. Leake also is considering offers from Canada. Leake gave a sample of his “football fight” in a recent game, getting into a scrap with an opponent on a play around second base. 
PACKERS GET ONE FROM UNCLE SAM, LOSE TWO
JUN 3 (Green Bay) - All is not sunshine today. The one ray from the great ball of fire is Tomie Ward, a 225-pound fullback who has signed a Packer contract for ’55 and, what’s more, expects to report for training. Ward signed a ’54 pact a year ago but Uncle Sam wouldn’t let him out of the Army. Tomie expects to finish his service period early next month. On the cloudy side, Coach Liz Blackbourn has been informed that two more signees have signed contracts with Uncle Sam – Pat Ryan, the Holy Cross quarterback who was announced, appropriately enough, last St. Patrick’s Day, and Marv Swentkofske, the Marquette guard. Earlier, Norm Amundsen, the former Wisconsin guard and the Bays’ sixth draft choice, changed from a mister to a private. Blackbourn was hoping Ryan would spice competition in the quarterback department behind veteran Tobin Rote. But Liz still has three rookie signal callers to instruct – Johnny Coatta, the former Wisconsin ace fresh out of service, draftee Charlie Brackins of Prairie View A. and M., and Jim Capuzzi, a highly-touted gent with some service at Cincinnati U and a brief whirl at Marquette. Loss of Amundsen and Swentkofske will complicate things at offensive guard where Blackbourn is looking for somebody to replace departee Al Barry and, in general, make life easier for any back who might want to run through guard. The aforementioned Ward might be the answer to the Packers’ ’55 punting problem, which became just that when Max McGee, the team’s regular booter last fall, went into the Air Corps. Still a youngster at 22, despite the fact that he has two years of service under his skin, Ward played at Midwestern University in Wichita, Tex., in ’52 but made his reputation at Tyler Junior College in ’51. For Tyler, Ward compiled a fantastic 46.9-yard punting average and lugged the ball 189 times for 949 yards and an average of just over five yards. In one game against Wharton College, Ward scored five touchdowns and gained 289 yards. He scored two touchdowns in the Junior Rose Bowl game and was picked to the Junior College All-America team. Ward also competed as a high jumper and once soared six feet, five and one-half inches. At Ball High in Galveston, Tex., Ward played football and basketball and competed in track. He was picked to the all-star grid team and still holds the state punting record of 43.8 – unusually high for a prep. Playing in the annual Texas All-Star game, Ward scored three touchdowns for the South team – a mark that still stands. Ward is one of nine fullbacks signed thus far.
TWO HOLES LEFT IN PACKER CARD
JUN 6 (Green Bay) - The Packers had only two holes left today in their 1955 schedule. In all, the Packers will make a total of 20 public appearances for the purpose of playing regulation football games. Twelve of those are championship NFL games, six are non-championship battles and two are known as intra-squad contests. The two open spots are in the “non” section – the last week in August and the first in September. Announcements on those two games will be made as soon as contracts are signed by the participants. The fourth non-league game was announced Sunday and will send the Packers against the Chicago Cardinals in the sixth annual Shrine game in Milwaukee’s Marquette Stadium Saturday night, Sept. 17. Proceeds of the game will go to the Shriners’ hospital for crippled children. Other non-loop matches set are: New York at Spokane, Wash., Aug. 13; Cleveland Browns at Akron, O., Aug. 20; and Washington Redskins at Winston-Salem, N.C., Sept. 10. Thus, the Packers already have arranged bouts with four of the six teams in the Eastern division. The remaining two tests, under league rules, also will be played against teams in that wheel. This leaves Pittsburgh and Philadelphia as the remaining foes. Incidentally, it is permissible to play an exhibition against an opponent in the same conference only after games are arranged with all six foes in the opposite loop. It is under this rule that permits the Los Angeles Rams to meet the San Francisco Forty Niners in an occasional non-looper. The Packers make their first public showing in an intra-squad rookie game in Marshfield Saturday night, July 30, with the veterans making token appearances. The following Saturday night, Aug. 6, the entire group will engage in an intra-squader in Stevens Point, the training base. League activity opens against Detroit in City Stadium Sept. 25…The Packers issued their first SOS of the season to Green Bay house and apartment owners today. Coach Liz Blackbourn said that “we’ll need a number of furnished one, two and three-bedroom apartments and houses.” Quarterback Tobin Rote plans to report here July 1 with his family, including three children, and needs a three-bedroom apartment or house. Now a golf representative for Miller Brewing Co., Rote will be one of the hosts at the Miller Open in Milwaukee before football season opens. Tom Bettis, the Packers’ first draft choice who was married in Lafayette, Ind., Saturday, plans to come here after his honeymoon – about June 13. He’ll need a one-bedroom furnished apartment. Anyone with apartments or houses for rent is asked to call the Packer office, Hemlock 2-4873…Vice President Nixon displayed quite an interest in the Packers during a recent visit to the White House by Green Bay’s Frank Tease. Tease was making a tour in Washington and Nixon “happened to be in and available for introductions when we went through the White House.” Nixon, the Bay resident said, “wondered how we were able to support the Packers and said he had been a Packer fan for many years and an admirer of Don Hutson.” He wished the Packers “the best of luck for 1955,” Tease said.
LIZ CROSSES LEAKE OFF LIST; DEMANDS TOO HIGH
JUn 7 (Green Bay) - Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn crossed Buddy Leake off his 1955 list of halfback prospects today following official word that the Oklahoma football and baseball star has decided to (1) submit to a tryout in the St. Louis Cardinal farm system and (2) play professional football in Canada. Signing of Leake was announced today by Ralph Misener, president of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Western Inter-Provincial Football union. Misener said the club has agreed to allow Leake, who earlier Monday had signed a baseball contract with the Cardinals, to play with Rochester of the International League until the start of fall training July 15. Blackbourn, after weeks of dealing with the two-sport star, including a telephone talk yesterday, explained the Packers’ position today: “We hate to lose him because it means loss of a reasonably good prospect – plus a good choice in the draft. But his salary range was completely out of line and it would not have not been fair to the rest of the club to compete further with the Canadian team.” Leake came to Green Bay a few days after the draft last January and indicated a liking for the football setup here. However, as the college baseball season wore on, Leake became more out of line in his demands and Liz had just about given up hope of getting him. Blackbourn said that Leake will be kept on the Packers’ reserve list, thus making it impossible for him to play with any other team in the NFL in ’55 or in the future. Leake is the third member of the Packer draft list to select Canadian football. The other two are tackle Art Walker of Michigan, the 12th choice, and halfback Carl Bolt of Mississippi Southern, the 20th choice. Bolt, contacted before the draft by the Packers, had been signed by Canada at that time but failed to let the Bays know of his circumstances…DRAFT LIST CLEARED UP: Blackbourn is now cleaned up on the Packer draft list – with the three Canadian exceptions and five juniors who were selected for use in ‘5. A sixth junior, fullback Bob Saia of Tulane, has been graduated and has signed a Packer pact for ’55. Had Leake signed here, he would have been one of 15 halfbacks laboring in Stevens Point, including veterans Al Carmichael, Clarence Self and Bill Reichardt, who was shifted from fullback, and more HB’s are coming in yet! Leake was one of two halfbacks drafted among the first 10. The other is Johnny Crouch, the eighth choice from Texas Christian who will work on defense.
LAMBEAU DIVORCED
JUN 7 (Santa Monica, CA) - Mrs. Grace Garland Lambeau, 54, has been granted a divorce from Earl (Curly) Lambeau, 55, former Green Bay Packers coach. Mrs. Lambeau testified Monday that the former professional football coach seldom took her out socially, was away frequently on unexplained absences and criticized her before friends. They were married 8 1/2 years. The court gave Mrs. Lambeau a half interest in an 840-acre ranch. She also retains title to a lemon grove in Ventura County, CA and a home and furnishings in nearby Malibu.
RINGO OUT TO INCREASE 'HANDLE' TOTAL
JUN 8 (Green Bay) - Quick now! Who handled the football the most on offense for the Packers last fall? Tobin Rote, the quarterback? Breezy Reid or Howie Ferguson, who carried many times? Nope. Jim Ringo, the center, holds the distinction of fondling the pigskin the most. The former Syracuse hero mitted the ball 780 times out of a possible 797 – the total number of Packer offensive plays. The 230-pound pivot, who signed today for his third Packer season, actually only missed 17 plays in the Packers’ 12 NFL games in ’54. Trapper Stephenson, who announced his retirement after the ’54 campaign, did the honors on those 17 occasions. Ringo averaged an even 65 handles per game in ’54 against the team’s 66.4. Offensive plays are rushed, passes, punts, points after touchdown and field goals. Coach Liz Blackbourn is hoping Ringo can increase his handle total in ’55 because it will mean that the Packer offense will be getting in more plays and thus controlling the ball more. Ringo started every Packer game in ’54 after missing the last seven in ’53 because of a knee injury. He’s looking forward to a full season and presently is keeping in condition between making insurance calls in his hometown, Easton, Pa. Ringo, the Packers’ seventh draft choice in January of ’53, ranked second on the ’54 squad in the number of offensive plays participated in. Guard Buddy Brown was first with 791 out of a possible 797. Tackle Art Hunter, now playing for Uncle Sam, ranked third behind Ringo with 768 and tackle Len Szafaryn was fourth with 743. And speaking about tackles, Dick Afflis, who also plays guard, stopped in two the other day sporting a beautiful shiner. Dick is wrestling out of Minneapolis and stopped en route from Chicago where he lost a match to Pat O’Connor and gained a black eye in the process. Afflis will go back to Chicago Friday night to battle Ivan Rasputin. Dick was picked as a substitute in the big match when Rasputin’s original foe, Yukon Eric, had his license revoked.
JIRSCHELE 15TH HALFBACK SET FOR PACKERS
JUN 9 (Green Bay) - Don Jirschele, a famous name in Clintonville, joined a long line of Packer halfbacks today. The former Kentucky back, now closing out a stint in the Army, is the 15th halfback announced as signed and sealed by Coach Liz Blackbourn thus far. The HB total could go to 20 since a number of veterans are still out – Bobby Dillon, Val Joe Walker, Veryl Switzer, Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson. Only three of the signed HBs are Bay veterans – Al Carmichael and Bill Reichardt of the offensive platoon and Clarence Self of the defensive unit. Reichardt played fullback for the Packers as a rookie in ’52, entered the Air Corps for two years, and recently was switched to halfback. He’ll carry 190 pounds – about 10 less than he did as a FB. One other halfback has had some pro experience, Ernie Wickstrom of Northern Illinois, who had a shot with the Chicago Cardinals. Jirschele is typical of the heavier-type offensive halfback Blackbourn will chase into action this season. He packs 198 pounds and stands six feet tall. Six others are in the 190-pound-or-over class – Reichardt, Carmichael, Wickstrom, Johnny Crouch, Lauren Hargrove and Sam Pino, although Crouch will play defense. Today’s newcomer wound up a brilliant career at Clintonville High in 1950 and then entered Kentucky where he played in the same backfield with Babe Parilli, former Bay quarterback. Jirschele was Kentucky’s kickoff expert but carried the ball little – 13 times for 42 yards in ’51 as a freshman and 13 for 59 in ’52, before going into the service. He rates his biggest thrill as delivering the opening kickoff in the Cotton Bowl Jan. 1, 1952, when Kentucky beat TCU 20-7. At Clintonville, Jirschele was named to the all-state football team in 1950 and qualified for the WIAA state track meet in the 100-yard dash. In football, he broke Billy Reed’s Mid-Eastern conference scoring record with 108 points and holds the mark for most TDs in one game – seven. He climaxed his prep career with a 102-yard touchdown scamper. He played in the North-South game here in August of 1951. Jirschele, with service in Korea and Guam, played no contact football in the Army but coaches and played with an island touch team that won 28 straight. He also coached a championship Army volleyball team. Jirschele is in the Army now but expects to be discharged in time to report for practice in Stevens Point July 16.
BLACKBOURN CAN REALLY CHUCKLE IF JIM CAPUZZI MAKES PACKERS
JUN 10 (Green Bay) - If Jim Capuzzi makes the ’55 Packers, Coach Liz Blackbourn can really have himself a laugh – one that should piped out of Los Angeles. Capuzzi is a six-foot, 190-pound quarterback who gained all of his advanced football learning as a passer, punter, ball carrier and defensive stalwart in the Marines. He enrolled as a freshman at Marquette last fall and stayed something short of a semester, meanwhile popping out Coach Frosty Ferzacca’s eyes in football practice. Capuzzi suddenly left MU and reportedly took a stab at entering Cincinnati University with no apparent lick since his name never appeared in the Cincy lineup which was then coached by Sid Gilman, present coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Somewhere along the line last winter, Capuzzi decided to play pro football and Blackbourn was Johnny on the spot, nailing him for the ’55 season. Let us now drop the curtain and prepare the scene for late Tuesday afternoon, Jan. 25 last. Gilman, then still Cincinnati coach, was calling for Liz and decided to discuss Capuzzi. Sid said something like this: “We don’t think it’s fair that you should sign Capuzzi. I’ve got important plans for him for next fall here (Cincinnati). I’m calling to ask you to allow him to enroll at Cincinnati.” Maybe it was intuition – plus Liz’ earlier conversation with Capuzzi, who said he preferred to play pro ball, but Blackbourn nixed Gilman right then and there. The payoff came the next day when Blackbourn picked up the morning papers and read the sports page headlines which announced: “Gilman signs as Rams’ head coach!” Blackbourn, to this day, chuckles to think how close Gilman came to scoring a “steal” less than 12 hours before the announcement as Ram coach. Liz, however, had no intention of falling for Gilman’s story even though he was unaware that Gilman was to be the Rams’ mentor. Or is there anyone in the house naïve enough to think that Sidney was really plugging Capuzzi for Cincinnati? During the draft in Philadelphia two days later, Capuzzi’s name came up again – this time from our friends in Pittsburgh. Blackbourn quickly informed the “bench” that Capuzzi already was under contract and Commissioner Bert Bell just as quickly recalled the case and announced officially that Capuzzi was rightful property of the Packers. The Packers will have 20 to 25 sleepers in training next month, and if Blackbourn was to pick a “first choice” among the players who escaped the Bay draft he’d probably name Capuzzi. Liz admitted the other day that “I like the sound of that boy’s qualifications and we’re pretty sure he might be able to do us a job – if not at quarterback, maybe on defense.” Capuzzi, like Howie Ferguson, gained his reputation in the Marines – at San Diego, incidentally, where Ram scouts probably saw him many times. Jim turned 23 last March and put in nearly four years in service – from Dec. 27, 1950 to Sept. 7, 1954.
LULL BEFORE STORM FOR COACHES; LIZ 'FARMING'
JUN 13 (Green Bay) - It's the lull before the storm on the Packer coaching front. The big relax is on! Tom Hearden, defensive backfield coach, was the only mentor of duty today as head coach Liz Blackbourn and head line coach Lou Rymkus launched three-week vacations. Offensive backfield coach Scooter McLean is on the tailend of his vacation and will return next week when Hearden had been off earlier for Naval Reserve duty and part of his vacation. Blackbourn will do some gentlemen farming for the next three weeks - plus Packer telephone business. He's on the family farm at Beetown, Wis., which is operated by Lisle, Jr., and the bulk of his work will be building a good-sized fence around the front yard. He'll get in plenty of golf in the afternoon. Blackbourn will pick up contract odds and ends via the telephone from the farm. Rymkus and his family are visiting in Cleveland where they lived for seven years while Lou played with the Browns. McLean, relaxing at golf and fishing, is finding it hard to stay away He stopped at the office to keep Hearden company for a spell today. The coaching crew will join up to officially start the '55 season Tuesday, July 5. Practice will open Saturday, July 16 at Stevens Point - for rookies. The veterans report July 23. Actually, the groundwork already has been laid for the '55 season. Ninety-some percent have been signed and complete scouting reports have been finished. Each player's performance in each play in every game in 1954 is in black and white - all set up through weeks of watching movies. Basic strategy already has been arranged on offense and defense for the 1955 schedule. This can be changed as the coaches view the prospects. In addition, the complete training program has been organized - day to day programs, etc. Hearden presently is preparing examinations for the defensive players. The exams will be given "after the boys have a chance to demonstrate the problems on the field." Blackbourn already has announced the signing of 15 halfbacks, 10 guards, nine fullbacks, nine ends, eight tackles, four quarterbacks and three centers. Most of the remaining signees to be announced are '54 holdovers, although Blackbourn may pop a surprise or two year. Business on the '55 draft is finished. Twenty-one of the picks have signed, three went to Canada and the rest are juniors who won't be available until '56. Most serious loss is No. 3 choice Buddy Leake, the Oklahoma halfback who also signed a baseball contract. Others going north were tackle Art Walker of Michigan and halfback Carl Bolt of Mississippi Southern.
CLINK MCGEARY REJOINS PACK, GOES TO GUARD
JUN 14 (Green Bay) - Clarence V. McGeary, a well known radio and television personality in Bismarck, N.D., and area, will attempt a comeback with the Packers in '55. McGeary, known as Clink when he played tackle here in '50, is three seasons removed from football combat, having spent the '51 season with Montreal of the Canadian league. Starting in '52, McGeary went to work for the radio and television stations of Bismarck's KFYR, winding up the play by play of Minnesota's football game and his own Pigskin Preview, in which he averaged 86 percent right on his predictions. In making a personal prediction, McGeary is 100 percent certain that he can overcome three years of comparatively soft living and successfully win himself a job playing with the Pack. Coach Liz Blackbourn is giving Clink an little extra challenge. He has shifted the former Minnesota and North Dakota State star from tackle to offensive guard. Liz believes McGeary has the necessary speed (the 100 in 11 flat) to play guard despite his size - six feet, five inches and 250 pounds. McGeary, who will be 29 in August, has always kept himself in good physical condition. He played 30 to 40 basketball games in each of the last three winters. He already has started getting into shape for football, running four to five miles a day. McGeary was drafted by the Packers in 1948, but didn't report until '50. In his first pro season, he appeared in all 12 National league games and started the last five. He was a surprise release early in the '51 training and immediately went to Montreal, playing out the season. Rather than try out here or go back to Canada in '52, McGeary decided to enter the radio field...TWO YEARS IN AIR FORCE: McGeary has five years of radio experience, starting in the offseason in '50, and two years in TV. He feels that he can play two or three seasons of pro football before setting down to a radio and TV career. Clink started his footballing with Hastings, Neb., High where he won al-state honors. He played two seasons at Minnesota, dropped out for two years in the Air Force, and then finished out at North Dakota State, winning all-conference honors. McGeary is married and has three children - Don 4, Nancy 3 and Kathy Ann 1. McGeary is the 11th guard announced as signed thus far, but only the third with pro experience on offense. The other two are holdover Buddy Brown and Sisto Averno, who formerly played with Baltimore.
PACKER OFFENSIVE PLATOON SET; END GLENN DILLHOFF SIGNS
JUN 15 (Green Bay) - The Packers, offensively at least, were broken down today into lefts and rights - all except the centers, quarterbacks and fullback. Which means that everyone reporting for training at Stevens Point next month will have a specific title and/or job. The offensive platoon is composed of 25 backs and 29 linemen, including rookie right end Glenn Dillhoff of the University of Cincinnati whose signing was announced today. The attached roster-layout is somewhat tentative in view of the fact that some of the players are still unsigned and some are uncertain about reporting. The offensive roster is a sort of a master worksheet - one that likely will undergo many changes early in training as difference needs develop. Coach Liz Blackbourn has promoted a double windup battle royal for the fullback and right halfback slots. The FB post has nine candidates, including the two holdovers from '54 - Howie Ferguson and Fred Cone, not to mention Clyde Sanders who looked so good in training a year ago. Seven will fight for right halfback, including veterans Al Carmichael and Veryl Switzer, who may or may not see most of his duty on defense in '55. Incidentally, only one of the players is listed on both the offensive and defensive rosters - Jim Capuzzi, a quarterback on offense and safety on defense. The defensive unit will be presented later. Graduation into the armed services robbed the team of three key figures in the offensive line - left end (Max McGee), left guard (Al Barry) and right tackle (Art Hunter). Veterans are due back in each of the other four holes in the offensive line - left tackle Len Szafaryn, center Jim Ringo, right guard Buddy Brown and right end Billy Howton. Who'll fill those three holes? Blackbourn had a pro-veteran replacement for each spot but he's hoping to get some help from the rookies. Gary Knafelc is set to step into McGee's shoes but Jim Jennings of Missouri may give him a push. In Barry's spot, Steve Ruzich is the only veteran available but big things are expected of Henry Bullough, the former Michigan Stater. Floyd Harrawood, who started with the Pack in '53 and then starred in Canadian football that season and in '54, is the No. 1 candidate to fill Hunter's boots, backed by two rookie Bobs - Antkowiak and Carter. Left halfback has three veterans - Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson of '54 and Bill Reichardt, the former Packer fullback coming out of service. Tobin Rote is the lone veteran at QB, with Capuzzi, Johnny Coatta and Charley Brackins fighting for the assistantship. Also expected back is Tom Johnson, a rookie tackle in '52 who is presently slated to work with Szafaryn and George Rogers at left tackle. Johnson is coming out of service. Blackbourn had planned some good competition for Howton - Dillhoff, Sam Morley, who had a shot with Washington in '54, Bob Peringer and Johnny Verdon. Dillhoff, who will report late - early in August because of summer school, was coached by Cincinnati for four years by Sid Gilman, present Los Angeles Rams coach. Dillhoff led Cincy in pass catching the last three seasons, snaring 51 for 970 yards and 48 points. He grabbed 26 for 452  in '52, 13 for 265 in '53 and 12 for 253 last fall despite the fact that Cincinnati did little passing. In his four seasons, Cincy lost only five games, while winning 35 and tying one. In '53, incidentally, the Blackbourn-coached Marquette eleven handed Cincy its only loss, 31 to 7, but Gilman got revenge last fall, beating MU 30-13. Dillhoff, who stands 6-2 and weighs 197 pounds, won four football letters, being the only gridder to caputre one as a freshman. Gilman considered Dillhoff one of the finest downfield blockers in college football last fall. Dillhoff starred at Chaminade High in Dayton, Ohio, winning all-city, district and state at end. The fourth youngest of seven brothers, Dillhoff turned 22 last March. He's married and has an eight-month old daughter, Diana. Tom Bettis, the Packers' first draft choice, and his new wife arrived in town yesterday from their honeymoon. They were married in Lafayette, Ind., recently and are presently looking for an apartment.
HEAVIER JOHNSON SIGNS PACKER PACT
JUN 16 (Green Bay) - Tom Johnson will carry an extra 10 pounds next fall. The Packer rookie of ’52, who was discharged from the Army recently, plans to pack 240 pounds when he reports for training in Stevens Point next month, and, what’s more, he expects to keep it. He lugged 228-230 three years ago. The onetime All-American from the University of Michigan figures the extra weight will give him a better chance to win employment at left offensive tackle – the position assigned him by Coach Liz Blackbourn. Johnson, whose signed 1955 Packer contract was received today, won’t have an easy chore. He’ll be battling with veteran Len Szafaryn, the 225-pound sure blocker who helped Breezy Reid on a number of good gains last fall. Johnson did considerable switching around in his rookie year. He missed the first half of the league season with an injury but played in the last six, starting at offensive tackle against the New York Giants. He was a standout in a tight victory over Philadelphia. Blackbourn plans to start him in practice on the left side on offense and keeps him there unless a need develops elsewhere. Johnson won’t be coming in cold. He played with Fort Hood last year and led the squad to a 10-4 record, making an honorary Army team in the process. The giant Negro ace, who stands 6-2, expressed his anxiousness to return to the Packers in Baltimore last fall when the Packers nipped the Colts 7-6. Johnson sweated with the rest of the Pack through the tight tussle and later said, “I almost asked the coach for a uniform.” With Johnson in the fold, all but two of the offensive tackles are set. Still out are George Rogers, a 247-pounder from Auburn, who is making up his mind on whether or not to play, and Szafaryn, who is expected along any day now. Rogers, a junior and drafted No. 10, has said he will be available. All three offensive right tackles are signed – Floyd Harrawood, the ex-Packer and Canadian, and rookies Bob Antokowiak of Bucknell and Bob Carter of Grambling. Johnson will be joining two former Michigan teammates for the first time as a pro – Roger Zatkoff and Gene Knutson. They were important cogs in Michigan’s 1952 Rose Bowl champions that whipped California 14-6. Johnson was an all-stater in football, basketball and track at Muskegon Heights, Mich., High. Tom once held the Michigan state prep shot put record with 54 feet, 5 ¾ inches and continued shot putting at Michigan and in the Army. Johnson, single, turned 24 last January.
PACKERS REST DEFENSE - UNTIL ARGUMENTS START JULY 16
JUN 18 (Green Bay) - The defense rested today in the case of the Packers vs. the offenses of 11 NFL clubs. And it’ll stay resting until Judge Liz Blackbourn and his ace defense attorney, Tom Hearden, can hear argument from 40 witnesses in a grass-covered court in Stevens Point July 16. The old hands on the bench – the veterans are in the pro field in this case, are likely to have an edge since they’ve been through the toughest football legal action in the land. This defense ranked one, two, three through the first 10 games last fall before submitting to pressure after two games with then-champion Detroit in five days. While the Packer defense “caved” only once last fall (35-0 to San Francisco in the 11th game), Blackbourn and Hearden aim to improve on the average of 20.9 points permitted last fall. Going in to the Frisco game, the Packers allowed an average of only 18.1. The Packers, according to the tentative training camp defensive roster, will have at least one veteran for each of the 11 defense positions except left linebacker. The left LB’er spot represents the hole created by the retirement of Clayton Tonnemaker. Liz took a big step toward filling that position by selecting Purdue’s Tom Bettis as his first draft choice. Bettis, a 225-pounder, was the first to sign for ’55 and since Blackbourn has added two capable rookie to give Bettis a good battle – John Hlay, 212, of Ohio State and Jan Smid, 205, of Illinois. Thus, it will be up to the Big Ten to replace Tonnemaker, himself a member of the BT clan from Minnesota. The defensive line will return intact, but the big competition will be at defensive end where Jim Temp of Wisconsin will try to unseat veterans Stretch Elliott and Gene Knutson and Bob McCants, a 6-8, 260-pound number, will be out to oust veteran John Martinkovic and rookie Nate Borden. Dick Afflis, the would-be wrestler, has been placed in the No. 2 slot behind regular middle guard Bill Forester who has improved each season. Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin are the key men at defensive tackle, though both are bothered annually by weight problems. Right linebacker seems to be in good hands – Roger Zatkoff, an all-pro, and Deral Teteak, the Wisconsin ace who was handicapped badly last year by a broken ankle. The key corner linebacker spots are up for grabs. On the left side, Clarence Self will fight it out with three hot prospects – Fred Baer of Michigan, John Crouch of TCU and Jack Patterson of Houston. On the right side, Jim Psaltis, off and on last fall, will go against Doyle Nix of SMU and Charley Bryant, a highly-touted Nebraska produce. Crouch, Bryant and Nix are considered the best bets. The safety spots seem to be in good hands what with Val Joe Walker, left side, and Bobby Dillon, due to return. However, Blackbourn is banking on nine safety prospects to keep the fire going. One of the nine possibilities is Gene Helwig, a top Tulsa defender who was drafted two years ago and is just now coming out of service. The only on-the-roster two-way back is Jim Capuzzi, the Cincy and Marquette passer, who will work under Tobin Rote on offense and at safety on defense. Veteran Veryl Switzer worked in this capacity a year ago but thus far has appeared only on the offensive roster. Blackbourn is quick to point out that today’s assignments are tentative, and will be changed to fit the various needs as the players, especially the new ones, show their qualifications in camp…On the homey side, it can be repeated that the Packers are desperately in need of one, two and three-bedroom houses and apartments. House and apartment owners are urged to call the Packer office, Hemlock 2-4873.
PACKERS' BETTIS ON STAR TEAM
JUN 20 (Green Bay) - The Packers’ Tom Bettis will play in the College All Star game, and chances are good that two more of Green Bay’s high draft choices will get the call to battle the Cleveland Browns in Chicago Friday night, Aug. 12. Selection of Bettis, the Purdue all-time linebacker, was announced today by Curly Lambeau, All Star coach, and the official word on Packers Jim Temp and Hank Bullough is expected shortly. Bettis, the Packers’ No.1 choice in the draft, likely will be a key in the All Stars’ defensive plans and could wind up as one of the team’s leaders. Tom twice co-captained Purdue and served as co-captain of the East team in the Shrine game and the North squad in the Senior Bowl. Playing in the All Star game means that Bettis, Temp and Bullough won’t report to Coach Blackbourn at the Packer camp until Aug. 13 – the day the Packers open their exhibition drive against the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash. At that, the ’55 Packers are getting off easy from their All Star duty. A year ago, they had seven in the game and in ’53 six competed. Lambeau was figuring on the three Big Ten stars ever since the draft was completed last January. Temp, the Wisconsin defensive end ace, was the Packers’ second choice and Bullough, who starred at Michigan State, was No. 5. Halfback Buddy Leake of Oklahoma, the Packers’ No. 3 pick, was lost to baseball and Canada. Lambeau said last January that he planned to pass up Leake “because he was a split-T back and there wouldn’t be enough time to convert him, although he’s a fine back.”…Bettis and his new wife settled down in Green Bay today and Tom went out looking for a short-term job to tide him over until practice opens in Stevens Point July 16. If you prospective employers are wondering what kind of fellow Bettis is, here’s a yard that followed Tom since the Shrine game in San Francisco. The athletes competing in the game are paid nothing but are given expense money to make up for their lost time. Bettis took one look at the crippled kids in the ‘Frisco hospital and turned his expense check of more than $100 back to the Shriners and told ‘em to use it to help the youngsters. Sponsors of the game were dumbfounded and announced that “it was the first time in the 20-year history of the game that any athlete ever turned back his expense money.”
​HELWIG, BEST BET AT SAFETY, JOINS PACKERS
JUN 21 (Green Bay) - The best rookie bet to make the Packers at a safety position was announced as signed today by Coach Liz Blackbourn. The wager is Gene Helwig, a six-foot, 195-pounder who played nothing but defense at Tulsa University. Blackbourn listed Helwig as the top candidate for either left or right safety in the Packer secondary but the blond pass-defense specialist will compete first at left safety – or more specifically against Val Joe Walker. Helwig is one of six possibles at left safety, including Walker. Others, all rookies, are Billy Bookout of Austin College, Carmin Cozza of Miami, Ted Muirhead of Mississippi and Lou Spycalla of Marquette. Helwig was the Packers’ 15th draft choice in ’53 and consented almost immediately to turn pro. However, Uncle Sam came first and the Tulsa ace went into the Army. He was recently discharged after serving with the Army of Occupation in Germany. Blessed with quick reactions and better than average speed, Helwig was one of the mainstays of the Tulsa defense for three seasons during which time the Hurricanes won 26, lost only five and tied two. He was named to the all-Missouri Valley honorary team his last two years. Helwig was one of two Tulsa heroes drafted in ’53. The other is ninth-choice Floyd Harrawood, who also has joined the Packers in ’55. Harrawood, a hot Packer prospect at tackle in ’53, played in Canada in ’53 and ’54. Three other members of the ’53 draft list are coming out of service to join the current Packers – back Lauren Hargrove of Georgia, the eighth choice; John Hlay of Ohio State, 16th; and tackle Bill Turnbeaugh of Auburn, 22nd. Helwig is a Chicagoan. He played prep football at Leo High and was named to the All-Catholic League team in his junior and senior years…BRIEFS: Packers’ Veryl Switzer and Dave Hanner already have started light workouts at City Stadium. Hanner, confronted with a weight problem, is gradually losing extra pounds and expects to report to training camp below 250.
​START A FIGHT! STRETCH ELLIOTT IN PACKER FOLD
JUN 23 (Green Bay) - Don’t recall this story about Stretch Elliott ever getting into print. And since the Stretcher signed a ’55 Packer contract today, let’s spill it. It was during the Packer-Lion game in Detroit last Thanksgiving Day when Elliott suffered a rather painful ankle injury. Stretch had been butting noses, elbows and knees with Detroit’s ace offensive tackle, Lou Creekmur, and it was something of a disappointment to Elliott when the hurt knocked him
'ONE OF BEST' FOR 1955, TAG PLACED ON FORESTER
JUN 29 (Green Bay) - Bill Forester “should be one of the best defensive players in the league this year.” That’s how Coach Liz Blackbourn feels about the “baby-veteran” of the Packer squad. Just 22, Forester signed today for his third Packer season, and Blackbourn announced the one-time Southern Methodist fullback, tackle and linebacker will be back at his old pro stand – middle guard on defense. Blackbourn first saw Forester in action in movies of ’53 games when he took over the head coaching reins in January of ’54. As a rookie in ’53, Bill did just about everything, including a shot at fullback. Planted at middle guard in ’54 and told to grow, Forester gradually mastered the technical job of decided when the other team was going to pass or run. He used his 235 pounds well in jamming up running plays and his speed in back-pedaling when the air raid sirens were blowing. Blackbourn conceded one time last fall that “everything is pretty new to Bill out there” and added last winter that “he’ll be at home in’ 55 and he should develop into one of the finest middle guards in the league.” Forester, who will be backed up by Packer veteran and rookie wrestler Dick Afflis, pulled one clutch interception last fall, grabbing a pass against the Baltimore Colts in Milwaukee with 20 seconds left in the half to set up a Fred Cone field goal that cut the Colts’ lead to 13-10. While big things are expected of Bill, it’s a similar situation in Cleveland, where the Browns are expecting Bill’s brother, Herschel, to become one of the best offensive guards in the league next fall. Herschel, although he’s a year older than Bill, will be playing his second pro season at Cleveland. Herschel was drafted by the Browns in ’52 and was one of two Texans traded to Dallas in the deal that brought George Ratterman to Cleveland. Before the ’52 season opened, Herschel was inducted into the Army Air Force and when the Dallas franchise was transferred to Baltimore, Herschel was regained by the Browns in the big 10-for-5 deal with the Colts in the spring of ’53. He joined Cleveland after being discharged in ’54. Bill will never forget his first game against his brother – a non-conference test here last fall. “It was a funny feeling,” Bill admitted later, “and I had a hard time bringing myself to playing my best against him.” The two brothers are due for two meetings this season – in a non-league test in Akron, Ohio, Aug. 20, and in a league game in Cleveland Oct. 23. The Forester boys were brought up on a football. Their father was football coach for 18 years at Woodrow Wilson High in Dallas where both starred before entering SMU. Bill Sr. was an outstanding tackler at Mercer U in Georgia. Bill, who will turn 23 Aug. 9, sells insurance in Dallas during the offseason. He is married and has two sons – Byron Herschel, 2 years, and Michael William, 7 months.
MARTINKOVIC SIGNS; 7 IN D-END COLLISION
JUN 30 (Green Bay) - It’ll be three veterans against four rookies, including a No. 2 draft choice, when Packer defensive ends start squaring away in Stevens Point next month. The seventh and last defensive wing to sign a Green Bay contract for ’55 is veteran John Martinkovic, whose registration was announced today by Coach Liz Blackbourn. Martinkovic, the 245-pound Czechoslovakian, joins returning veterans Stretch Elliott and Gene Knutson. Big John and long Stretch are back for their fifth campaigns here and Knutson will be a sophomore. In the newcomers’ corner will be Jim Temp, the second pick who did his play-for-play footballing at Wisconsin; Nate Borden of Indiana; Bob McCants of Washington State; and Gene Felker of Wisconsin, who actually did get a sniff of pro ball during a brief stay with Dallas before going into service. Martinkovic, despite the competition, is looking forward to his best season – which could mean touchdowns. John’s best previous campaign, as a Packer most will agree, was the ’52 campaign when he did himself proud on defense and also turned up as the highest scoring defensive end in the league. Martinkovic managed 12 points on two touchdowns in ’52. He recovered a punt blocked by Deral Teteak for the touchdown that gave the Packers a 12-10 victory over Philadelphia in Milwaukee. Then, on the following Sunday in Chicago, Whizzer White muffed a catch of a short field goal by Bill Reichardt and Martinkovic charged the ball into the end zone and fell on it for a touchdown. Martinkovic, former Little All-American from Xavier, was selected to play in the pro bowl game in January of 1954 and received honorable mention on several all-pro teams in 1953-54. Martinkovic has played in 48 straight Packer league games since coming to Green Bay late in the training season of ’51 in a trade with Washington for offensive end Ted Cook. Martinkovic worked opposite Elliott, who also played in 48 straight, the last two seasons and in ’51 and ’52 paired with Ab Wimberly, now a coach at Louisiana State…MCCANTS GIANT OF TEAM: The tentative training camp shows Martikovic battling Borden and McCants, at left defensive end. Borden, a hard-fighting shifty boy, carries 204 pounds, but McCants will be the giant of the team – at 6-8, 260. Temp and Felker are pitted against Elliott and Knutson. Temp packs 230 – the same weight as Stretch, although Elliott may come in at 235 this year. Felker carries 210 and Knutson 225. Martinkovic, a native of Hamilton, O., spent the offseason in Green Bay, selling car for Crust Buick.
CANADIAN 'HOMEBREWS' DON'T LIKE IMPORTS' FAT SALARIES
JUL 2 (Green Bay) - How about the Canadian-born football player? He plays for peanuts in Canada’s Big Four Union while the teams up there pay fantastic salaries to untried and tried American stars. Based on the 20 grand offered Packer quarterback Tobin Rote last winter by two Canadian clubs, it would seem logical to assume that, had Rote accepted, some of his Canadian teammates would be getting as much as $18,000 less – from what we hear of sums paid the homebrews. This ridiculous situation is bound to create confusion and dissatisfaction among the Canadian athletes. And to give you an idea of what can happen, take a squint at the following column written by Jack Koffman in the Ottawa Citizen: If the weather has left you somewhat sour and you’re looking for a laugh, analyze one of the remarks credited to Harry Sonshine the other day: “He hasn’t the proper mental attitude for our club,” remarked the Argonaut GM, in reporting that Johnny Fedosoff was one of three Toronto players traded to Hamilton. Now, what could be wrong with Fedosoff’s mental attitude? Could be the young backfield sensation (and he’s a good one) is one of those clubhouse lawyers? Or is it possible Johnny is too complacent to satisfy the lavish-spending Mr. Sonshine? If you’re thinking along these lines, you’re not even warm. The answer is that Fedosoff, as promising a youngster as any to hit Big Four ranks in recent years, has been demanding more money than the Argos were prepared to pay for him. Imagine the nerve of Fedosoff! Sure, everyone in the Big Four agrees he’s a backfield champion either offensively or defensively, but he ought to be tickled he’s been offered an Argo uniform again. At least, it appears Mr. Sonshine thinks so. This is the same Harry Sonshine who has been spending the Toronto Football Club’s money like a chap who has just received an unexpected and very handsome return from Income Tax headquarters. While other clubs in the Big Four have been counting pennies in an effort to stay alive, the Argos have announced the acquisition of name grid stars from across the border at fancy prices. There certainly has been no sign of a retrenchment policy in the Argo camp. Somehow or other, you find it hard to blame young Fedosoff, a beautiful, broken field runner, for trying to get as much dough as possible out of the Toronto Club. Canadian football teams must learn that, if they want to cry “wolf”, they’ve got to reduce salaries right down the line – not only
HELLUIN SIGNS IN - AT 255!
JUL 8 (Green Bay) - Today's Packer shock: A 255-pound Jerry Helluin! And we might add, Believe It or Not, because this same Packer tackle weighed in a year ago at 292 and played at around 275. How did he shed the weight? "Special diet from my doctor. Started last January first," Helluin said here today after signing his 1955 Packer contract and getting his family (mother and twin daughters, Janice and Janet) installed at 817 E. Walnut St. Helluin is mighty proud of his new and lower weight because the reduction represents a lot of work - "especially at the start." After while it was easy to keep my weight at about 255." Jerry said he made up his mind after talking with Coach Liz Blackbourn after last season. "The coach made an agreement with me that I was supposed to weigh 270 when I reported for practice and then hold 260 during the league season," Helluin smiled, adding: "I feel wonderful and I don't think I'll ever carry as much weight as I had before. The doctors told me that I'd suffer when my football days are over and advised me to always watch my weight closely." Helluin took a lap around the City Stadium track the other day with Veryl Switzer and discovered that "I felt wonderful. Of course, my wind is short yet but it wasn't like a year ago when a run like that would be much harder work." The burly tackle, obtained from the Cleveland Browns in June of 1954 in a trade for a fourth draft choice, is anxious to meet his buddy-buddy in the defensive line, Dave Hanner. "Wait'll old Dave sees me," Helluin told Line Coach Lou Rymkus today. "I'll bet right now when he hears about my weight, he'll shift that tobacco to the other side of his mouth and say out of the other side, '255, heh, that far so-and-so.'"...START FOURTH SEASON: Dave, who worked here during the offseason and is presently on vacation at his homestead in Arkansas, also has a weight deal with the coach. Dave is supposed to weigh in at 250 and maintain 245 during the season. At the last report, Hanner was working hard but may report with the rookies July 16 to get in an extra week of shaving down. Veterans report July 23. Jerry will be starting his fourth season in pro ball. The onetime Tulsa star, drafted by the Browns in 1951, stayed out a year before reporting to Cleveland in '52. He was a regular Brownie defensive tackle and/or middle guard for two seasons before coming to Green Bay. Helluin, who will turn next Aug. 8, worked with Bill Svoboda, the New York Giant linebacker, during the offseason in a filling station at Houma, La., about 50 miles from New Orleans. Jerry also carried the mail during the Christmas rush.
PACKERS SHIFT FB SPINKS TO GUARD
JUL 9 (Green Bay) - Packer Coach liiz Blackbourn marked time today until practice starts - in Stevens Point next Saturday - with a remark or two. "We'll be on the lookout for boys to till the gaps left by the losses you are well aware of," Liz started. He referred to end Max McGee, guard Al Barry and tackle Art Hunter in the offensive line - not to mention quarterback Bobby Garrett and linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker. "And we'll have to find a second center behind Ringo," Liz added. The Bay mentor, preparing for his second season, admitted he wasn't too pleased with the offensive guard setup and announced that Jack Spinks, the 240-pound fullback, "will be at guard right from the start." Liz added: "Jack has had three chances to make it as a fullback and he hasn't yet. He has the size and the speed to make a good guard. That's the type of thing we'll have to do, shift players around and see if we can't fill some of the gaps and strengthen other positions." Spinks was signed recently as a free agent after serving part of the '54 season with the Chicago Cardinals. He came up with the Pittsburgh Steelers two years ago and showed flashes of promise. Blackbourn said that "our biggest problem is on offense because most of the losses are there. We'll be starting out weaker on offense than when we finished last year. As an illustration, we have Gary Knafelc at left end in place of McGee." Any trades coming up, coach? "Nothing now," Blackbourn said, "but if we're at any dead end streets about two weeks after the start of practice we'll get on the telephone." Compared to a year ago, Blackbourn said that "we're more ready, more efficient in the presentation of our material. We have more athletes to work with and as a result the percentage of finding unexpected help is greater." Blackbourn and his aides, Tom Hearden, Lou Rymkus and Ray McLean, have the benefit of "their own" season behind them. They entered 1954 training cold, so to speak, since all they knew abut the '53 squad was what they saw in the pictures - with the exception of McLean, the lone holdover coach. What's more, they started camp with only 43 athletes; this year, there will be many more. Blackbourn won't wait long to give the rookies their first bumping. The first-on-the-field drill is set for Sunday, July 17 after checking in July 16 and by the end of the week "we'll be cracking plenty." The veterans will get some of the same by the end of the second week which will be climaxed by the first public intra-squad game at Marshfield Saturday night, July 30. This test will be primarily for the rookies but the veterans may make some token appearances. After the second week, Blackbourn said "we'll cut the squad down to just those newcomers who will be in actual contention for positions." The Packers will hold two practices per day, as usual, but "they'll be starting earlier in the morning," Liz said. Breakfast will be served starting at 7 a.m. instead of 7:30 last year and the athletes will start suiting up at 9 o'clock, with no meeting before the drill which will start about 9:30. The squad will be given a rest period after the noon meal but there will be a half-hour meeting before each afternoon workout, scheduled to start about 3:30. The main squad meetings will be held in the evening. At the moment, Blackbourn and his aides are getting playbooks set up. Offensive and defense books are being prepared and Blackbourn feels that numbering the pages according to the various plays will streamline classroom work.
PACKERS ARE COMING A WEEK FROM TODAY
JUL 9 (Stevens Point) - It's nearing the middle of summer, and in Stevens Point, among other things, that means it's almost time for the Green Bay Packers to start their training camp here. The first invasion of Packer football candidates will begin one week from today, when approximately 60 men - all of them tough and brawny as well as rookies or other newcomers - will come to town. Along with these "new faces" in Packer drill togs will be the same coaching staff to the man as last year headed by Liz Blackbourn who will commence his second season at the helm of the Green Bay pros. Scooter McLean, Lou Rymkus and Tom Hearden are Blackbourn's assistant coaches. It won't be until one week later on Saturday July 23 that the better-known Packer players - the 26 veterans who will battle the rookies for their jobs - start their drills. By that time, too, the original list of 60 men likely will have been trimmed by 25 or more to make room for the veterans. League rules limit teams to 60 or fewer men in camp at one time. This number, of course, must be pared down to the regular season maximum of 33 by the start of hostilities on September 25. Once again as during 1954 when the Packers trained here for the first time the players and coaching staff will be housed in Delzell Hall on the campus of Central State College. They will eat just a few doors down on North Fremont at Nelson Hall also on the CSC campus. Also as last summer the Packers will work out on three fields - Schmeekle Field behind Delzell Hall, Bukolt Park and Goerke Stadium. The latter, however, will be used on a limited basis, possibly for one or two scrimmages and for the annual intra-squad game on Saturday night August 6. The regular drills will take place on the college and Bukolt fields on an alternate basis. No official welcoming parade is planned this year for the Packers since unlike last summer when all arrived at one time the candidates will drift into town at different intervals both next Saturday and the following weekend. Some sort of citywide program on behalf of the Packers is being planned however during the stay in Stevens Point. Prospects look good for the Packers this year although several holes must be filled, particularly those left by a handful of men who have either retired or entered the service. Generally speaking, the Pack shaped up strong defensively, especially in the line. The offense is not as strong on paper now due to the absence of key veterans. The busy and efficient Packer publicity man, Bonnie Ryan, stopped in Stevens Point Friday and pointed out features of the Packer lineup as it appears now before drills have gotten underway. Veterans Stretch Elliott and John Martinkovic at ends. Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin at tackles and Bill Forester at middle guard are back to form an imposing forward wall on defense. Roger Zatkoff, backed by Deral Teteak, is a cinch at one linebacker spot while a highly-regarded newcomer and No. 1 draft choice of the Packers this year, Tom Bettis of Purdue, is being groomed for the other linebacker position. Bettis will be one of the Packers who won't be here at the start of drills since he will play with the College All-Stars and will train with them until sometime in August. Bettis will be taking the spot of the retired Clayton Tonnemaker. In the deeper secondary defensively, Bobby Dillon and Val Joe Walker appear to be the two safety men with Jim Psaltis as one cornerback and another regarded new man, John Crouch, of TCU, probably taking over for the veteran Clarence Self as the other cornerback. Among other good newcomers on defense are safetyman Gene Helwig of Tulsa, linebacker Jim Smid of Illinois and ends Jim Temp of Wisconsin and Nate Borden of Indiana. Other veterans include Dick Afflis at middle guard and Gene Knutson at end. Lost to the service from the defensive platoon was safetyman Gene White. Offensively, the need is for an end to take Max McGee's place, a tackle to replace Art Hunter and a guard to fill in for Al Barry. These three as rookies were regulars last year and will obviously be sorely missed, especially McGee who was an outstanding performer. Back for more action are Billy Howton at end, Len Szafaryn at tackle, Buddy Brown at guard and Jim Ringo at center in the line. Gary Knafelc stands a good chance of being McGee's replacement. The ex-Colorado player was on the squad last year. Glenn Dillhoff of Cincinnati and Bob Peringer of Washington State are highly rated. There are three highly considered rookie tackles to take Hunter's spot - Bob Antkowiak of Bucknell, Bob Carter of Grambling and Floyd Harrawood of Tulsa. At guard Henry Bullough, a high draft choice from Michigan State, may be the man to replace Barry. Ringo is expected to be pushed by an outstanding center candidate, George Machoukas of Toledo. Trapper Stephenson was the No. 2 center last year but retired. Steve Ruzich at guard is a holdover from last year's team. The backfield likely will be mostly veteran except for a quarterback spot behind the veteran Tobin Rote. Johnny Coatta, well known as the former Wisconsin passing star, appears to have an inside track to follow up Rote but Jim Capuzzo, who did not play college ball although he attended Marquette briefly, is highly regarded. Al Carmichael and Veryl Switzer provide a strong punch at right half and Breezy Reid and Joe Johnson are back at left half. Howie Ferguson is the returning fullback along with placekicker Fred Cone. The highest regarded newcomer among the running backs is Gayton Salvucci of American International.
BURGLAR GETS SET FOR GRID SEASON; SWIPES EQUIPMENT
JUL 11 (Green Bay) - A burglar apparently eager to begin his football training early broke into the Green Bay Packers training quarters at the rear of East High School Sunday evening. The intruder gained access to the locker room by breaking a pane of glass in a hinged window. His loot included two white footballs and two pairs of shoulder pads.
FRIDAY 'M-DAY' FOR LIZ; FIRST PRACTICE SUNDAY
JUL 12 (Green Bay) - Friday will be "M-Day" for personable Liz Blackbourn, who Saturday launches his second season as head coach of the Packers by opening the first rookie camp in the team's long history at its Stevens Point training base. "M" in this case stands for "moving", and since coaching a professional football team has become a complicated operation in recent years, this will be a project of no small proportions. One of Blackbourn's Friday functions will be greeting "some of the boys who will be coming in" but a good part of his time will be taken up with assembling the impediments he and aides Tom Hearden, Lou Rymkus and Ray (Scooter) McLean employ in tutoring Green Bay's NFL representatives during the next five months. Just how much and what does this involve? "We're having a truck take it over for us," Liz responded. "There are projectors, screens and scouting equipment on other teams that we have assembled last season, for a starter. Then, of course, we have all of our plays, scouting assignments, defensive operations and examination paper, I guess," he chuckled, "that's about it. Jack Vainisi will be going with me to help set things up." Announcing a departure from past practice, Liz revealed that all players will report directly to camp for both the first week's rookie session and July 23, when the veterans will join the fledglings. Last year, all players reported here and made the excursion to Stevens Point by chartered bus. The '55 training season will be launched offensively with a meeting Saturday night, Liz said, adding that "it probably will be a long one. There, of course, will be church Sunday morning and we'll have our first practice at 2:30 Sunday afternoon." Liz also announced that Bill (Earthquake) Turnbeaugh, giant 265-pound tackle from Auburn, will be late in reporting. He is attending summer school in Ohio "and may be delayed a couple or three days because of his exams."
BLACKBOURN MUST SORT OF IMPOSING ROOKIE CROP
JUL 13 (Green Bay) - Coach Lisle Blackbourn of the fast-improving Green Bay Packers, who has a modest sized squad of 43 players for tryouts in 1954, faced the pleasing prospect of having too many hopefuls this season. Last year, the league rule prohibiting more than 60 men in camp at any one time couldn't have meant less to the undermanned Packers. Since then, things have changed and Blackbourn has been forced to schedule two tryouts. A rookie camp, the first in the team's history, will start Saturday and some 60 men who weren't on the roster a year ago are expected to arrive at Stevens Point for the trials. Veterans of a year ago, about 30 of them, will show up a week later when the rookie squad is pared to 30. Blackbourn's bonanza of rookie football players came in four groups - college draftees, free agents, returning servicemen and Canadian league refugees. The gridders fresh from college ball made up the most glamorous segment of the squad, but there were top names among the ex-GI's, free agents and migrants from the north. Free agents included these top college draft choices of the past few years; end Sam Morley, Stanford; fullback Jack Spinks, Alcorn A&M; tackle Howard McCants, Washington State, and end Gene Felker, Wisconsin. Such names as fullback Bill Reichart, Iowa; quarterback Johnny Coatta, Wisconsin; fullback John Hlay, Ohio State; tackle Tom Johnson, Michigan, and Bill (Earthquake) Turnebaugh are on the list of service veterans. The college draftees provide the real glitter to the rookie camp, however, with players such as tackle Tom Bettis, Purdue; end Jim Temp, Wisconsin; guard Henry Bullough, Michigan State; halfback Johnny Crouch, TCU, and tackle Ed Culpepper, Alabama, set to report. The Packers also will look over center George Machoukas, Toledo; end Doyle Nix, SMU; and tackles Bob Antowiak, Bucknell, and Nate Borden, Indiana. All this is very well, but Blackbourn has been hard hit by losses among last year's regulars and the failure of 10 of his 30 draft choices to report. Green Bay had a 4-8 record last season, but its first six losses were by a total of 23 points and the general consensus was that the Packers, with a few breaks, could have finished far better. Blackbourn has hopes of doing better this time - if his rookie camp works out.
SET PRO GRID OPENING DATE
JUL 14 (Philadelphia) - The NFL season will get underway Sunday September 25 and close December 11, under the complete schedule announced Wednesday by Commissioner Bert Bell in Philadelphia. The Green Bay Packers will open against Detroit at Green Bay and close against the Los Angeles Rams in Los Angeles. The traditional game with the Bears, with which the Packers through most of their recent league history have opened the season, will be played the second Sunday of the season. Three of Green Bay's games will be played in Milwaukee. Baltimore will be played here in a nationally televised game Saturday night October 16 and San Francisco Sunday November 20. The Packers will play home-and-home games with the five other clubs in the western division - San Francisco, the Bears, Los Angeles, Detroit and Baltimore - and two single games with clubs in the rival eastern division - Cleveland and the Cardinals. The Packers will play at Cleveland Sunday October 23 and will meet the Cardinals at Green Bay November 13.
AB WIMBERLY REJOINS PACK AS COACH AIDE
JUL 14 (Green Bay) - Drawling, soft-spoken Abner Perry Wimberly, a stalwart here not too many moons ago, today rejoined the Packers - for a two-week "engagement". Ab, a durable, highly competent regular at defensive end here from 1950 to 1952 and now an assistant coach at his alma mater, Louisiana State University, is not returning, unfortunately, in a playing capacity. But Head Coach Liz Blackbourn expects the still youthful Louisianan to make a major contribution to the 1955 Packer cause. He has been hired to polish the freshman defensive ends, beginning Saturday when the Packers open the first rookie camp in their history at Stevens Point, for the first two weeks of the training season. "We would have liked to have had his services for at least four weeks," Liz said today, "but he has to report back to LSU by Aug. 1 when their coaching staff begins work down there." Blackbourn feels that Abner's presence will be a "big help to us. Since we have quite a few ends to go through, it will simplify matters to have some one who will be able to work exclusively with them. It's one way of having a closer check of just what we can expect from those fellows." Among the candidates who will be under Wimberly's scrutiny are Nate Borden, 6-foot, 204-pounder from Indiana, Robert McCants, 6-foot, 8 1/2-inch Washington State giant, and Gene Felker, former Wisconsin athlete. He will not have an opportunity to work with another leading recruit, Jim Temp, since the Badger star will be in the camp of the College All Stars. Wimberly, now 29, joined the Packers in 1950 after being selected in the pro draft provided by the dissolution of the All-America Conference. Abner played his rookie season with the Los Angeles Dons in 1949 before joining the Packers. At the close of the '52 season, Abner announced his retirement to assume his present position under Gaynell Tinsley, another former NFL star at LSU. Wimberly is a rare football bird since he never played the sport in high school, yet made the LSU varsity as a freshman and scored a touchdown against Georgia in his first game. Ab, who was accompanied by his wife, now makes his home in Baton Rouge, La...Blackbourn's satisfaction over the prospect of Wimberly's assistance was tempered to a degree by the discovery today that Fred Baer, a highly regarded rookie from Michigan, has decided not to report. Baer, regarded as a leading candidate for left corner back in the Packers' defensive secondary, "has a good job," Liz said, "and he's afraid of the uncertainty of making the team."...Blackbourn and assistant coach Jack Vainisi will leave Friday noon for Stevens Point to make final preparations for the opening of camp Saturday. Trainer Carl (Bud) Jorgenson, beginning his 32nd year with the Packers, and assistant Gerald (Toby) Sylvester left Wednesday with a truckload of equipment. Liz and aides, Lou Rymkus, Tom Hearden, Scooter McLean and Vainisi, will work with the rookies exclusively next week, then greet the returning veterans July 23.
ROOKIE CAMP OPENS 37TH PACKER YEAR SATURDAY
JUL 15 (Green Bay) - The oldest team in the NFL, the Green Bay Packers, will launch its 37th season with one of the game's most recent innovations - a rookie camp - at Stevens Point Saturday. Lisle W. (Liz) Blackbourn, beginning his second season as Packer head man, will greet 58 "freshmen" at a meeting Saturday night, which will be the first official assemblage of 1955. The first practice is scheduled to follow at 2:30 Sunday afternoon. Though not brand new, the rookie camp is of recent vintage and will be the first in the history of the Packers, who came into being back in 1919 and joined the NFL in '21. The first week of the training season will be devoted exclusively to screening the freshman crop. The 26 veterans returning from the 1954 squad will report July 23, at which time Liz and his aides will have whittled the entire squad to approximately 60 players. At least four rookies will report late due to discharge from military service or attendance at summer school. These include George Machoukas, Toledo center; Lou Spycall, Marquette halfback; Bill Jack (Earthquake) Turnbeaugh, Auburn tackle; and Richard Gordon, guard from Toledo. Bill Reichardt, a fullback here in 1952 who has been shifted to halfback in 1955 planning, will not report until July 23. Blackbourn has given him permission to complete arrangement of his personal affairs...Three others, Tom Bettis, Purdue, Jim Temp, Wisconsin, and Henry Bullough, Michigan State, all top Packer choices in the NFL's 1955 college draft, have been selected to play in the College All Star game but will report to the Stevens Point camp for the first four days of drills before joining the All-Star camp. Blackbourn has indicated that Bettis will be groomed to replace the departed Clayton Tonnemaker as middle linebacker while Bullough will be tried at offensive guard, the position left vacant by the loss of Al Barry to military service, and Temp will battle veterans John Martinkovic and Carleton (Stretch) Elliott at defensive end. Liz also will keep a sharp eye out for replacements at two other positions, offensive left and right tackle, problems that have been occasioned by the induction of Max McGee and Art Hunter...Glenn Dillhoff, 6-foot, 2-inch, 197-pound recruit from Cincinnati, or Jim Jennings, a 6-3, 195-pound Missourian, could be the answer at LE. Hunter's shoes may be filled by Floyd Harrawood, who was released by the Packers during the 1953 training season and played in Canada the last two years. All of Saturday's reportees will not be bona fide rookies since 11 of them have had previous professional experience, most of them with other NFL entries, but since they will be new to the coaching staff they also must undergo preliminary scrutiny. Chief among these is Tom Johnson, former Michigan tackle, who was a Packer rookie in 1952 before entering service. Another "name" freshman is tackle Clink McGeary, a Packer in 1950 and '51, and still another is guard Sisto Averno, a veteran of four seasons with the Baltimore Colts...Other better known "rookies" include Jack Spinks, ex-Pittsburgh Steeler and Chicago Cardinal fullback, who will be given a whirl at guard, end Gene Felker, who spent a year with the defunct Dallas Texans before entering service, and halfback Bill Robinson, tried out by both the Packers and Steelers on previous occasions. In addition to these, guard John Bove played for Ottawa in the Canadian League the last four years after being released by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1951, and three others, halfback Sammy McWhirter and guards Howard McCants and Gene Snipes, had pro tryouts last year, McWhirter with the San Francisco 49ers, McCants with Toronto and Snipes with the New York Giants. Two intra-squad games will serve as "breaks" in training routine. The first is scheduled at Marshfield July 30 and the other at Stevens Point Aug. 6. All practices will be open to the public...The Packers hit the non-league trail at Spokane, Wash., Aug. 13, where they meet the New York Giants. Blackbourn's staff, which helped the former Marquette strategist return the Packers to NFL contention a year ago, remains unchanged. He again will be assisted by Lou Rymkus, Tom Hearden, Ray (Scooter) McLean and Jack Vainisi, along with Abner Wimberly, who will coach the rookie defensive ends for the first two weeks of the training season. The 1955 roster, which appears elsewhere on this page in offense-defense form, is broken down thusly: four centers, 10 guards, six tackles, eight ends, five quarterbacks, 10 halfbacks and six fullbacks, on offense, and two middle guards, five tackles, seven ends, six linebackers, seven cornerbacks and 10 safeties, on defense.
PACKER ADVANCE SALE UP 20 PERCENT OVER '54
JUL 15 (Green Bay) - Carl Mraz, Packer ticket director, reported today that advance ticket sales for 1955 home games in Green Bay are 20 percent heavier than in 1954. Because of the heavy sale, Mraz urged season ticket buyers who have not picked up their tickets for the games this season to do so immediately. Orders are still being accepted for season tickets. Prices are listed at $14.25. $10.50 and $7.20 and include the three league games: Detroit Lions, Sept. 25; Chicago Bears, Oct. 2 and Chicago Cardinals, Nov. 13. Tickets are also being sold for the non-league game with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Aug. 27. These are priced at $3.50, $2.50 and $1.50. The Packer ticket office, at 349 S. Washington St., is open 8:30 to 5 p.m. daily and 8:30 until noon on Saturday.
PICK CANADEO ALL-STAR AID
JUL 15 (Green Bay) - Tony Canadeo, former Packer great, today was named an assistant coach of the College All Stars, who meet the Cleveland Browns at Soldier Field in Chicago Aug. 12. The announcement was made to the Press-Gazette via telephone by Wilfrid Smith, new sports editor of the sponsoring Chicago Tribune, this noon. Curly Lambeau, head coach of the All Stars and Canadeo's coach with the Packers from 1941 through 1949, said that the erstwhile "Grey Ghost of Gonzaga" will serve as assistant backfield coach. Lambeau's other assistants include Steve Owen, Hunk Anderson and Hampton Pool.
Cleveland in a trade and joined the club in the middle of August. Halfbacks and guards have been plentiful in the early announcings as Blackbourn is making a move to bolster the squad in the middle of the line and on defense. Ten HBs and nine guards have been inked. In addition, there are six fullback, six tackles, five ends, five quarterbacks and two centers.
PACK SIGNS NEBRASKA HALFBACK - CLARK ON DEFENSE; POOL JOINS ALL STAR COACHING STAFF
APR 28 (Green Bay) - The Packers had a full team of halfbacks today, with the signing of their 11th draft choice – Ronnie Clark of Nebraska. Clark is one of a number of switch cases – made possible under college football’s one-platoon system. Coach Liz Blackbourn announced that the 5-11, 182-pound back, who made his reputation as a ball carrier in college and Army ball but played defense “on the side”, will be a candidate for the Packers’ defensive section when practice starts in July. Clark is a safety man, which mean that he’ll be fighting for a pay check against the likes of veterans Val Joe Walker and Bobby Dillon – the Packers’ two deep men. Adept as a pass defender, Clark, however, made headlines as a broken field runner in his first college game in 1949, returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown against Kansas State, and from then on few people considered his defensive ability. All except Packer backfield coach Ray McLean maybe! Ray saw him in action in Nebraska’s losing cause in the Orange Bowl last Jan. 1 and figured the athlete has possibilities – especially in view of his speed. Clark, who will turn 24 May 27, is draft free since he already has served three years in the Army. He entered service in ’51 after being rated one of the Big Seven’s outstanding backs as a junior in ’50. He continued the honor last fall at Nebraska and gained All-Army recognition in ’51-52. Clark played four years of football at Revenna, Neb., High and was named to the all-state team. He also competed in track and basketball. Clark is the 11th halfback and the 44th player announced as signed thus far…OTHER SIGNINGS: Perry Moss, the former Illinois quarterback flash who played with the Packers in ’48, signed a ’55 contract yesterday with Hamilton of Canada’s Big Four Football Union…The College All-Star coaching staff was “all pro” today, with the addition of Hamp Pool, former coach of the Los Angeles Rams. The Stars will play the Cleveland Browns in Chicago Aug. 12. Star head coach Curly Lambeau announced that Pool will be assigned to offensive duties. Earlier this week, Lambeau selected Steve Owen, former New York Giant coach, as his defensive coach. Previously, Hunk Anderson, the former Chicago Bear line coach, was named All Star line mentor. This is the first year the All Stars will be handled by pro coaches. In past years, the mentoring was done by college coaches. Neither Lambeau nor the sponsoring Chicago Tribune Charities, Inc., wants a coach with allegiance either to a pro or college unit.
LAMBEAU IN CENTER OF TRIPLE-THREAT DIVORCE ACTION
APR 28 (Santa Monica, CA) - Earl "Curly" Lambeau, one-time coach of the Green Bay Packers, Wednesday was in the center of a triple-threat legal action in Superior Court. His wife, Grace, 54, filed suit for divorce, asking for half of Lambeau's ranch in the Santa Monica mountains which she valued at $150,000. Lambeau, 57, also filed for divorce and sought to have the court declare the 650-acre cattle and poultry ranch is not community property. Lambeau charged his wife owes him $4,616 which he said he lent her from 1946 through 1953. After a conference with the principals and their attorneys, Judge Orlando Rhodes continued the case to June 6. After leaving the Packers, Lambeau later coached the Chicago Cardinals and Washington Redskins and this year will tutor the College All-Stars in their annual classic in Chicago against the Cleveland Browns, champions of the NFL.
league teams - the Packers and Braves, with the removal of the Milwaukee Hawks, a basketball team, to St. Louis. Neither the Braves nor the Packers will benefit by the loss of the Hawks, although there may be several rare birds who might turn their basketball savings into Packer or Brave tickets. The passing of the Hawks - not exactly a tribute to Milwaukee fandom due to their failure to properly support the cagers - was hardly noticed today. The Associated Press, with headquarters in the hometown of the Hawks, passed it off to state readers with a paragraph in "Wednesday's Sports in Brief" and the United Press buried it under a "lead" about the signing of a draft choice by Rochester.
PACKERS SET TWO SQUAD GAMES
MAY 13 (Green Bay) - Two intra-squad games, with a total potential gate of nearly 9,000 fans, will be played during the early training season. General Manager Verne Lewellen announced today that the first game will be played in Marshfield Saturday night, July 30. The second is set for Stevens Point - the Packers' training base - the following Saturday night, Aug. 6. The Marshfield test, sponsored by the Columbus High School Athletic Assn., will be played in the 4,360-seat Beell stadium. The Stevens Point match is set for Goerke field, with a seating capacity of 4,500, and the retail division of the Point Chamber of Commerce handling ticket sales. The Packers played one squad game last season - in Stevens Point, before 4,500, with the Golds defeating the Greens, 13-7, in a thrilling exhibition. The Marshfield battle will feature Packer rookies who, by that time, will have two weeks of training under their belts. The veterans, who start drills a week later than the newcomers, will make token appearances. Rookies and pro veterans playing with the Packers for the first time will report Saturday, July 16, and the Packer holdovers will gather July 23. The two squad matches give the Packers a total of five announced exhibitions thus far. Others are the New York Giants in Spokane, Wash., Aug. 13; Cleveland in Akron, O., Aug. 20; and Washington in Winston-Salem, N.C., Sept. 10. Lewellen is presently working out three more non-conference tests, including one in Green Bay and the annual Shrine benefit in Milwaukee. Another game, originally scheduled in Atlantic City, may be shifted to another city. The Packers open league play against the Detroit Lions in City Stadium, Sept. 25. That game, incidentally, may be the start of a new career for Harry Gilmer, the onetime Alabama jump passer who has played seven seasons with the Washington Redskins. The Lions currently are negotiating for Gilmer who would be played behind Bobby Layne, regular Detroit quarter. Reportedly, the Detroits are willing to give up two younger players, probably veterans, for Gilmer. Gilmer, 29, would replace Tom Dublinski, Layne's standin for three seasons, who jumped to the Canadian league.
PAT HARDER TO AID PACKER TICKET SALES
MAY 16 (Green Bay) - Pat Harder, the onetime Wisconsin fullback who hurt the Packers as a Chicago Cardinal and Detroit Lion, will help the Green Bay club - as director of ticket sales in the Milwaukee area. Packer General Manager Verne Lewellen announced over the weekend that Harder will start his new duties when the Packers open their ticket office in Milwaukee County Stadium June 1. Packer ticket sales are in charge of ticket director Carl Mraz, who has his headquarters at the Bay office at 349 S. Washington. Looking forward to one of their biggest years on the ticket front, the Packers are getting set for one of their toughest home schedules. The six-game card is split between Green Bay and Milwaukee, and each community will host to one non-conference contest. Green Bay will host Detroit Sept. 25, the Chicago Bears Oct. 2 and the Chicago Cardinals Nov. 13. The three league tests set in Milwaukee are Baltimore Oct. 9, Los Angeles Oct. 16 and San Francisco Nov. 20.
PUNTING TACKLES JOINS PACKERS
MAY 17 (Green Bay) - A tackle who once delivered a 93-yard punt. A major league baseball player. A guy who is getting to like Green Bay more and more every day! The names of the three descriptions are Jack Spears, Jim Pendleton and Veryl Switzer. They ganged up on this department yesterday and here's the pitch: Spears, the Packers' 28th draft choice, has returned his signed contract for the '55 season, Coach Liz Blackbourn announced. The tackle and punting specialist helped make the University of Chattanooga famous with his fierce action at offensive tackle and his long-distance punting - an unusual combination, incidentally. The only similarity in pro football today is Lou Groza of the Cleveland Browns, who plays offensive tackle and kicks extra points and field goals. Spears, who stands 6-4 and packs 230 pounds, produced one of the longest punts in the nation on Thanksgiving Day in 1953 when Chattanooga was playing Mississippi Southern. The Moccasins were backed up to their own one-yard line when Spears booted from the end zone. The ball first bounced on the Mississippi 40, a distance of 59 yards, and then kept rolling until it stopped on the six-yard stripe - 93 yards in all. He finished '54 with his best average - 42.5. Spears will be among the candidates for the position vacated by Art Hunter, who is now in service. He is the seventh tackle signed thus far. Spears, who will turn 25 Aug. 5, had his college career interrupted by two years in the Army, serving in Korea from October 1951 to September 1953. He's a native of Maryville, Tenn., where he played prep football. He played three years of basketball at Chattanooga and in '53 was voted the school's best all-around athlete. He was football co-captain in '54. The aforementioned Pendleton entered this grid picture by visiting Switzer Monday at Farah's liquor store where Veryl is working as assistant manager. Veryl and Jim met in Milwaukee last fall and they've been close friends since. While Pendleton confesses that "it sure is cold up here," Switzer couldn't help but tell how he liked it up here. "I liked it here fine last fall when we played and the fans were wonderful, but it's even better now because I get to know of lot of them personally. I'll have a different feeling when I play next fall - like everybody up in the stands are my personal friends. Can't help but do better." The talk got around to baseball and Switzer chuckled when he thought about his first game with the Billy Goats. "I came up to to bat with the bases loaded, and the fans were yelling for me to hit one. They didn't know that I hadn't had a bat in my hands for five years." Pendleton got it out of Veryl that he never touched the ball. Switzer is planning to let his baseball career rest. "Too good of a chance of getting hurt with these spikes; I start my own training in June anyway." Pendleton was a bit uncomfortable about Sunday's six and a half hour doubleheader with the Phillies. "That's a long time to sit on the bench," Jim laughed. He can play all of the outfield positions and is Johnny Logan's replacement at shortstop.
- Bill Reichardt, the Iowa star who played at the position as a Packer rookie in '52 before going into service. Signed recently, 190-pound Reichardt was shifted to left halfback, placing him in competition with veteran Breezy Reid. Hlay had plenty of experience at Ohio State, what with three different defensive systems in three seasons. As a sophomore in 1950, Hlay was a fullback in the single wing and a year later, when the squad shifted to the straight T, Hlay found himself playing mostly as a defensive linebacker. As a senior in '52, Hlay was the club's No. 1 fullback in the split-T. His substitutes carried only four times all season as he ripped off 535 yards and two touchdowns in 133 carries for an average of 4.02 yards per try. Hlay, who saw some action at guard during his early days at OS, is also considered highly as a blocker for the passer - welcome news to Packer quarterbacks. Hlay will turn 25 next Sunday. He hailed from Niles, O., where he played football and competed in track at McKinley High. He was an all-Ohio guard in prep football. In one high school game, Hlay carried the ball only four times but scored three touchdowns. Hlay was a second lieutenant in a Tank division in the Army but played no football. Hlay hails from an athletic family. He has three brothers who are top-flight in their sports - Steve in football at Baldwin-Wallce, Nick in wrestling and Paul in golf.
MASON TO COACH
MAY 20 (Detroit) - Joel Mason, who played professional football for seven years with the Chicago Cardinals and Green Bay Packers, has been named freshman coach at Wayne University. Mason, 43, is a graduate of Western Michigan College.
SALVUCCI PENS FINAL LETTER!
MAY 25 (Green Bay) - Letter writer Gayton Salvucci has sent his last missive to the Packers. The best player in the history of American International College at Springfield, Mass., and one of the best in Army football, mailed in his signed contract today with a note saying: "You won't hear from me until practice starts in July." Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn has been impressed by the keen interest halfback Salvucci is showing in his first attempt to make the pros. Gayton introduced himself when the Packers played Philadelphia in Hershey, Pa., last August, driving over from Fort Dix, N.J., where he served in the 272nd Infantry regiment. Salvucci, who stands six feet tall and weighs 180 pounds, was signed as a free agent in 1953, but was called into service before he had a chance to wear the Packer colors. During his Army career, Salvucci wrote Packer scout Jack Vainisi quite frequently, each letter pointing to the day he could join the Packers. Blackbourn announced that he will give Salvucci a shot at both defensive and offensive halfback. He'll work at left half on offense - a position at which he set all sorts of records at AIC and gained plenty of yardage at Fort Dix. Salvucci served as player-coach of the service team, proving himself far and away the best player on the post. In 10 games, he scored 18 touchdowns and averaged 11 yards per rush. He led his team to the post title with a record of 8-1-1. At American International, Salvucci played LH for three seasons, gaining over 3,000 yards and figuring in 42 touchdowns with his running and passing. Benny Friedman, former Michigan star and present football coach and athletic director at Brandeis University, said in '53 that "Salvucci is a player that could make any college team in the country." In his senior year, Salvucci had a hand in 18 of the 20 touchdowns scored by AIC, passing for 10 and scoring eight himself. He picked up 1,196 yards rushing and passing, more than half of the yardage made by the entire team in seven games. Also a baseball player and track star in college, Salvucci majored in education and was a better than average student. He ran the 100 in 10 flat in one meet. He turned 26 last May 8 and calls cartooning his hobby. He prepped at Quincy, Mass., High where he won all-Massachusetts scholastic honors. Salvucci is the 11th halfback announced as signed thus far.
30TH DRAFT PICK SAIA OUT TO PACK MARK
MAY 26 (Green Bay) - Bob Saia (pronounced see-ya) will attempt to set a new all-time record with the Packers next fall. The Tulane fullback hopes to become the second straight 30th draft choice to make the Bays - a record in itself. Al Barry, the Southern California guard, started the unique string last year. Thirtieth - or last - draft choices get all the consideration of first picks in Packer training, but somehow the No. 30 seems to be a jinx. There hasn't been a famous "30" anywhere since Danny Fortmann popped George Halas's eyes back in the 30's. Barry is the only Packer 30th to make the team in the last nine drafts. Records are a wee bit hazy before that. The Packers actually drafted a pro-experienced quarterback in '50 - Ray Mallouf, the onetime Chicago Cardinal who was thrown into the draft when the National League and All-America Conference merged and all clubs threw not-wants from their reserve lists into a pool. Mallouf never joined the Pack. Saia
and Barry have something in common. Both were drafted as juniors. Barry was drafted in January of '53 for delivery in '54, while Saia was picked last January for use in '56. However, Saia became something of a gift from Upstairs when he informed Coach Liz Blackbourn that he will be graduated next week with a degree in physical education, although he has a year of grid eligibility left. Graduation, of course, ends his college football career. Saia, a little light for fullback at 183 and six feet tall, is known as a natural athlete which means that Blackbourn and staffmen Ray McLean, Tom Hearden and Lou Rymkus can't be blamed if they see possibilities for another position in the fact newcomer. Saia had a rather mixed-up college career, playing under three different coaches and skipping a year. He started at Tulane in '51, averaging 3.9 yards in 47 carries and scoring an important touchdown against Vanderbilt under coach Henry Franka. In 1952, Saia stayed out of the school, but in '53 he labored as a reserve under Coach Bear Wolf. Andy Pilney, the old Notre Dame star, took over in '54 and Saia performed as the team's regular fullback and linebacker. He led the team in rushing with a 4.3 rushing average and in kickoff returns with 278 yards in 13 attempts - 20 plus. Saia was a teammate of Packer Max McGee for three seasons. The newcomers, who will turn 24 next Oct. 5, had a fantastic high school record at Warren Easton in New Orleans. He took part in six sports - football, golf, track, swimming, baseball and basketball, lettering in all of them. In one prep game, Saia rushed for 183 yards in five attempts, scored three touchdowns, caught six passes and intercepted three others. He played 47 minutes, resting the one other minute. Saia works in the Louisiana oil fields during the offseason. He's married and has one
son, Salvador, 15 months.
HOWTON TOPS DON AT 3-YEAR MARK - BUT!
MAY 30 (Green Bay) - Billy Howton has signed another Packer contract, which means it's time to compare his record thus far with the old master - Don Hutson. The one thing to remember is all this comparison is that football - as played during Hutson's first three seasons - is a darned sight different than it is now. In Hutson's day, the teams passes about 25 percent less. What's more, Hutson also played defense in those days - 1935, '36 and '37, the period of comparison. Actually, Howton is ahead of Hutson's pace in everything but touchdowns - that which counts the most. Hutson, who eventually played 11 seasons, caught 23
touchdown passes in his first three seasons at left end - seven in '35, nine in '36 and seven in '37. Howton, working at right end, nailed 19 in his first three seasons - 13 as a rookie in '52, four in '53 and two in '54. In number of passes caught and yardage and averages, it's just about all Howton, although, it must be reminded the difference in pro attack figures heavily. In three campaigns, Howton caught 130 passes for 2,462 yards. Hutson nailed 93 for 1,508 yards. Howton averaged 18.9 yards per catch; Hutson 16.2. Hutson's longest catches were 83, 87 and 78 yards; Howton's 90, 80 and 59 in the three years. Don's longest in '35, incidentally, was on the first pass he caught in a pro league game - enough to beat the Chicago Bears, 7-0. Howton's total might even be higher, and he could possibly be leading Hutson in touchdowns but for an injury in '53. He suffered broken ribs in the final exhibition against the Browns and missed the first four games. He finished with 25 catches for 463 yards and four touchdowns. With young Max McGee in the Air Force, Howton will carry the brunt of the pass catching in '55. The one-time Rice rocket, now an insurance executive in Houston, and McGee gave the Packers a fearsome combination last fall. Howton's chief P-C'ing mate will be Gary Knafelc, who was McGee's understudy in '54, unless one of the rookies beats out the former Colorado star. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn is expecting Howton to have a big year next fall. In Bill's first two years, he concentrated on the long pass but Liz changed that with emphasis on the short pitch and catch last fall. Howton, Blackbourn figures, should be even more accustomed to the short style in '55.
below par, forcing Coach Liz Blackbourn to call him to the bench. Come the last quarter when the furious battle reached a climax, Elliott rushed up to Blackbourn and insisted that he be put back in. Liz took one look at Stretch’s swollen ankle and nixed the idea right there and then. But Elliott had something else in mind: “But coach, lemme in there and I’ll get a fight going with Creekmur and get him booted out of the game.” Blackbourn was pleased with Elliott’s display of team spirit, but left Creekmur up to Gene Knutson, Stretch’s replacement. Elliott might have had a personal feud going, too, since on the previous Sunday in Green Bay, Stretch and Lou were making like Archie Moore and Bobo Olson when the gun ended the game – only there wasn’t a knockout. Late in that game, Creekmur knocked the cap off one of Elliott’s front teeth. Elliott landed a couple of blows in retaliation. Despite the hurt on Turkey Day, Elliott saw action in the final two games on the coast, thus giving him a record of appearing in 48 consecutive league games. Elliott, you may recall, came to the Packers in 1950 after being drafted No. 12 earlier that year. He looked good in practice but was shipped out to the Erie Vets, a semi-pro team. The former University of Virginia athlete returned in ’51 and never missed a game since, playing both offense and defense until ’54 when he worked only on defense. As an offenser, Elliott caught an even 60 passes for 581 yards and six touchdowns. He nailed 35 for 317 and five TDs in ’51, 12 for 114 and one TD in ’52, and 13 for 150 in ’53. Elliott will be fighting for steady employment against two pro veterans – Knutson and Gene Felker, who had a shot with the Dallas Texans before going into service, and Jim Temp, the promising University of Wisconsin youngster. All are stationed at right defensive end….BEARS SIGN SCHROEDER: At 6-5, Elliott is among the tallest players in the league. He plans to carry 230 pounds into action next fall – 15 more than he lugged as an all-around athlete in Virginia and five more than he weighed in ’54. An Army veteran who served 18 months in Italy, Elliott is an insurance salesman in El Paso, Texas, during the offseason. Stretch will turn 28 next Nov. 12 – the day before the Chicago Cardinals visit Green Bay. The Chicago Bears also announced the signing of an end today – pass-catching Gene Schroeder. Schroeder was sidelined by a leg injury last year after coming out of service.
mounting. Jack Vainisi, assistant coach, office assistant, and right hand man to Coach Liz Blackbourn, is presently contacting the horde of musclemen ticketed to start practice at Stevens Point July 16. “And most of them are coming,” Vainisi chortled today as he checked off another name. Most of the calls are made to signed draft choices and free agent – just to make sure they’ll report. Letters of information on everything from how to get to camp to body blocks have been dispatched to the athletes. The opening workout for rookies is hardly three weeks away. The veterans join the crowd Saturday, July 23…Blackbourn is presently enjoying his vacation with one of his favorite pastimes – golf. He’s competing in the state senior golf championships over at the Blackhawk Country Club in Madison, and doing quite well. Liz fired a 42-38–80 to place among the state’s best senior shotmakers in the first round Monday. The second and final 18 is set for today and Liz will be among a field of 17 threesomes and one foursome. Contestants must be over 50. Rich Everiz, the bakery man from Fond du Lac, is leading with 36-35-71. Marshall Smith of Green Bay is just in front of Blackbourn with 40-39-79. Blackbourn is spending his vacation at the family farm in Beetown, Wis., near Lancaster. He’s been working on the farm in the morning and golfing in the afternoon – getting in shape for the football grind. The coaches will pull the string together next Tuesday morning and make final preparations to open camp…Curly Lambeau, head coach of the Chicago All Stars, is in town relaxing a bit before the start of drills for the Star’s battle against the Cleveland Browns in Soldier’s Field Aug. 12. Lambeau conferred with his assistants in Chicago over the weekend – Steve Owen and Hunk Anderson. Hamp Pool will join the group later, though he and Lambeau had been in conference in Los Angeles through the spring…Packer publicity chief Bonnie Ryan is back at work after a painful bout with a kidney stone. Bonnie was in the midst of arranging the programs for Packer home games when the attack came…The aforementioned Vainisi was in Wausau yesterday to address the Kiwanis Club and was surprised to learn that Wausau’s Elroy Hirsch, who retired as a Los Angeles Ram end last December, is working out every day. Visiting his folks in Wausau, Hirsch has been running a couple of miles every day – “to get his legs and wins in shape,” the fans say up there. He’s either getting ready to play an athlete in a movie or end with the Rams, it can be guesses…Stan Heath, the onetime Packer quarterback, has signed for a shot with the Chicago Cardinals. Heath tried out with the Cleveland Browns after leaving the Pack early in the ’50 training season and then buried himself in Canada.
PACKERS WORKING OUT - INFORMALLY; MAY BE SHORTAGE OF GUARDS
JUN 25 (Green Bay) - A half a dozen Packers are working out informally at City Stadium these days. All are veterans but Tom Bettis, the Purdue linebacker who came in a week ago. Bettis started doing heavy work last week at the F. Hurlbut Co. and will continue until practice opens officially July 16 for the rookies at Stevens Point. Veterans getting the winter kinks out are John Martinkovic, Breezy Reid, Dave Hanner, Veryl Switzer, Fred Cone and Deral Teteak. All wintered in Green Bay or Milwaukee…Remember Langdon Varicola? Cut loose by Canada a year ago, the former Fordham back tried out with the Packers. Before cutting the player loose, Coach Lisle Blackbourn landed him a high school coaching job in northern Wisconsin. Varicola finished out the school term, including a shot at chemistry teaching and now wants to try his hand at footballing again. Unable to rejoin the Pack, Varicola signed on with the Washington Redskins…Ray Pelfrey, the onetime Packer, Colt and Giant, is prep coaching somewhere in the east. One of the finest end or halfback prospects to come along in years, Pelfery never quite learned the signals well enough to make it, though all three clubs thought they had the original Johnny Blood when he took the field. Only difference was that Johnny had it upstairs. Pelfrey drifted up to Canada after the Giants cut him last fall, but he didn’t make it there either…Stan Andrie, an undrafted guard from Marquette who was expected to join the Packers, has decided not to play pro football. With the loss of guards Mark Swentkofske of MU and Norm Amundsen of Wisconsin to the Army, the Packers may be short at that position. Hank Bullough, the Michigan State ace who already has signed, will be late reporting because of duty in the All-Star game. And nothing has been heard from veteran guard Steve Ruzich. Other guards are Dick Gordon and Gene Snipes on the left side and Sisto Averno, Buddy Brown, Clink McGeary and John Nitz on the right.
‘PHONE PACKER FREE AGENTS, DRAFT PICKS
JUN 28 (Green Bay) – The Packers’ telephone bill is 
for the homebrews. Teams these days are in the habit of giving American stars, almost sight unseen, the parliament building while quibbling with Canadian talent saving a buck or two here and here. Everyone knows the influx of talent has provided Canadian players with a higher standard of living. It doesn’t alter the fact, however, that homebrews shouldn’t be dismissed with a little consideration as possible. A promising gridman like Johnny Fedosoff has every right to shake his head in bewilderment when he compares his own contract with those of unknown American players.
WALKER RETURNING ON TWO GOOD LEGS
JUL 6 (Green Bay) - Val Joe Walker almost quit Packer football a year ago. He was knee deep in the oil business. This season, he’s knee deep in football – with a new knee, at that. Walker had an operation on his knocking knee last winter, and Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced today that (1) the operation has been a success and (2) Walker has signed for ’55 warfare. Walker reported late for practice last year; he was waging a personal battle between a job with an oil firm and showed up at camp two weeks late and about 10 pounds underweight – a shock for Blackbourn who then was conducting his first Packer camp. V.J. put on the necessary weight and carried on in his usual competent manner until his knee started to kick up midway in the season. He was floored late in the first Detroit game, missed the second Lion test in Detroit and then hobbled through the two closeouts on the west coast. Return of Walker with two good knees means that the Packers’ deep defensive halfbacks, Walker and Bobby Dillon, will be operating on four good legs for the first time. Dillon underwent a similar cartilage operation a year ago last winter and experienced no trouble last fall, playing out the entire season for the first time. In Dillon’s two previous seasons, he missed the west coast windup. Walker had knee trouble occasionally, as a rookie in ’53, too. Val Joe will be starting his third season and Dillon his fourth. Despite troubles, Walker managed to intercept four passes last year and return ‘em for 83 yards – an average of 20.8 each. In ’53, Walker stole four enemy throws and returned ‘em 74 yards – an average of 18.5. One return in ’53 was 54 yards for a touchdown – fourth longest in Packer history. Walker was drafted by the New York Giants in 1953 and traded to Green Bay for Arnie Galiffa, the former Army quarterback. Val Joe was rated one of the best defensive halfbacks in the Southwest Conference while at Southern Methodist. He was also an outstanding hurdler for the Mustangs for three years. He is credited with a 92-yard punt return when the Mustangs played Texas in ’52. Walker is now living at Seminole, Tex., where he first gained athletic fame at Seminole High. He is an insurance salesman in the offseason in Seminole.
PACKERS HAVE SPOTS TO FILL
JUL 6 (Milwaukee) - The loss of several players to the armed forces will force the Green Bay Packers to rebuild for the 1955 NFL season, head coach Liz Blackbourn said today. Blackbourn, who coached Marquette University before entering the pro ranks last year, said the Packers were certain to be stronger defensively this year, but the offense still is a question mark. "We draft boys from the colleges and Uncle Sam drafts them from us," he said. Blackbourn is getting set for Packer drills which start July 16 at Stevens Point State College. There'll be intra-squad games July 30 and August 6, and then the Packers launch a pre-season exhibition series against the Giants, Browns, Steelers, Eagles, Redskins and Cardinals. "By the time the regular season starts we will know what we have," Blackbourn said. "I'm afraid it's all going to depend on our rookies. Our first job is to fill the vacancies which have occurred since last year." The retirement of linebacker Clayton Tonnemaker and the departure for military service of offensive end Max McGee and reserve quarterback Bobby Garrett left the biggest holes in Green Bay's lineup. Blackbourn said he hoped Tonnemaker's shoes would be filled by Tom Bettis of Purdue, No. 1 Packer draft choice. "We have a couple of good prospects at quarterback, but where can you find good ends these days?" Blackbourn asked. "Right now we've got only one, Billy Howton, but we have to find another one between now and the start of the season. McGee's replacement may be Gary Knafelc, a 215-pound, six-four end from Colorado, Blackbourn said. With a little luck Green Bay could improve on its 1954 mark of four wins and eight losses, but the team is not expected to be a title threat this year.
GRIPE! GRIPE! LIONS, BROWNS, FRISCO CHOICES
JUL 7 (Green Bay) - Back in the old days, the boys in the big towns griped about the “two or three teams” NFL every time the schedule came out. The two or three teams were generally the Packers and Bears and Washington or New York. The Packers and Bears, for sure, were always the teams to beat. It seems needless to say that times have changed, but to refresh your memory, Green Bay hasn’t been in the “two or three” team class since the middle 1940’s. In fact, the Packers’ last above .500 season was 1947 – eight years ago! Since the big towners have had their gripes in their days, it seems okay for a guy in a little town to start bellyaching on this schedule-announcing day. The two or three teams, darn it all anyway, for ’55 – as has been the case the last couple of years – are Cleveland, Detroit and San Francisco. Yep, the Browns of the American conference have been in five straight playoffs now and we can’t see who is going to stop ‘em again this season – unless maybe it’s the Packers for one Sunday in Cleveland, Oct. 23. But that’s only one game, says this Optimist. You just must figure Detroit since the Lions are defending National Conference champions and they still have Bobby Layne and a flock of other high-priced articles. San Francisco is loaded to the teeth – as it has been for four years – and this time the Forty Niners might strike gold. How about the other nine? Grippety-gripe! The Packers, Bears, Rams and Colts in the National and the other five in the American all have a chance thanks to the shape of the ball, plus the desire of the underdog. What’s more, the schedule, devised by our beloved Commissioner, Bert Bell of Philadelphia, has a funny way of balancing things up – sometimes, at least. Some teams get murder right at the start; others get it later; the fortunate have it spread out. If you’ve got nine lives you’re okay, since a 9-3 record usually wins, although a 7-5 is possible this year. Our hates from Chicago, for instance, get Baltimore and Green Bay in their first two games and then play the Forty Niners and Rams each twice in four of their next five games. The Packers get murder right away. Who’s on first? Detroit! The Bears and Baltimore are on second and third. Then come the Rams and Browns. Detroit gets off against Green Bay and Baltimore. Then it’s blue blades – Frisco and LA – in four straight games. Come to think of it, maybe Green Bay can slip in while the big buzzards pick each other dead. Anyhow, if you desire some harmless fun, look over the following league schedule and try and figure a winner.