PACKERS GET 6 FOR 2 IN TRADE, EYE MORE DEALS
APR 19 (Green Bay) - "We're not through dealing, yet," Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn announced today following a gigantic six-for-two trade with the Cleveland Browns Thursday night. In the big switch, the Packers traded spare quarterback Bobby Garrett and veteran linebacker Roger Zatkoff to the Browns for the following half dozen players: quarterback Babe Parilli, end Carlton Massey, tackle John Macerelli, linebacker Sam Palumbo and halfbacks John Petitbon and Billy Kinard. All of the new Packers are veterans and four of them are defensive players - Petitbon, Kinard, Massey and Palumbo. It is the largest switch of all-veteran players in the history of the NFL. Pleased with the deal, Blackbourn said that the deal will be followed by others - "we're talking with several clubs." It's generally believed that Parilli, a Packer in 1952-53, will be a major figure in any future deal, but Blackbourn had no comment on that. Instead, Liz said that "both (Garrett and Parilli) are great quarterbacks. Garrett should be of great value to the Browns and Parilli has finished that first year after getting out of service; he should be ready to regain his previous form." The deal was aimed chiefly at bolstering the Packers' defense and "it may be the start of some help for our offense," Blackbourn pointed out. "The trade doesn't mean that these defensive players will step into sure jobs. But they should make everybody hustle and result in a higher level of performance," Liz pointed out, adding: "The new defensive players weren't regulars with the possible exception of Massey, but the Browns had the greatest defensive unit and these players must have ability." The Browns allowed fewer points than any team in the league in 1955-56 and Kinard, Petitbon, Palumbo and Massey all figured in the tough defensive unit. Macerelli is an offensive guard-tackle and will get a good chance to make a Packer line all but shot by the loss of John Sandusky, Forrest Gregg and Bob Skoronski. The return of Parilli gives the Packers four quarterbacks again, the others being Tobin Rote, Bart Starr and Paul Hornung. Rote signed his 1957 contract in the presence of Blackbourn in Houston Wednesday night. Macerelli will carry about 235 pounds, while Massey, slim at 6-4, packs close to 220. Palumbo is built the same as Zatkoff - 6-2, 215. Petitbon and Kinard each pack 185, while Kinard stands 6 feet tall and Petitbon 5-11. Blackbourn felt that there was no key player in the deal as far as the Packers were concerned. In Cleveland, Coach Paul Brown said Garrett was the key player. "We always did wonder what we could have done with Garrett, and now we will have a chance to find out. He is a smart young man and has a strong arm." Brown had a chance to see what Garrett could do in '54, but traded him off to the Packers in August of 1954 when Parilli skipped into the Air Force. Garrett understudied Rote that season, and then went into service. Parilli returned to the Browns for the 1956 season and wound up sharing QB with Tommy O'Connell, the ex-Bear, after George Ratterman was hurt. Blackbourn was on the spot for QB's in 1954 when Parilli left and quickly dealt for Garrett, who was the Browns' bonus choice this year. Including Zatkoff in the deal may come as somewhat of a surprise in view of earlier reports that he was headed for Detroit. The Packers understandably wanted no part of Zatkoff as a Lion in two league games but now Roger won't be playing against Green Bay unless the two clubs meet in a playoff since they're not scheduled in league action. Zatkoff said earlier that he planned to retire and had hoped to be traded to Detroit, feeling that he could get started in a job there and play at the same time. Brown said, "We feel confident he will change his mind when he hears our proposition. We think very highly of him and under no circumstances do we plan to make another deal involving him."
TRADE BLACKBOURN'S SECOND STEP IN BOLSTERING DEFENSE
APR 20 (Green Bay) - The Packers have had defensive troubles on and off for the last 10 years. In fact, the last time Green Bay had a better than .500 won-lost percentage was 1947 when the Bays came home with 6-5-1. And that was the last season the Packers scored more points than they permitted their opponents, counting 274 against their foes' 210. Since 1947, the Packers' lowest points-allowed total was 251 in 1954, but that figure jumped to 276 in '55 and ballooned all the way to 342 last fall. The all-time "lows" were 406 permissions in '50 and 375 in '51. Since the end of 1956, Coach Liz Blackbourn made two determined bids to bolster the defense. First, he returned defense coach Tom Hearden to the Bay staff. Tom operated as defensive coach in Blackbourn's first two seasons here, 1954-55, and then served on the University of Wisconsin staff last fall. Second, Liz worked out an eight-player, all-veteran trade with the Cleveland Browns, getting six players - including four defensive specialists - for spare quarterback Bobby Garrett and linebacker Roger Zatkoff. The four defenders are end Carlton Massey, linebacker Sam Palumbo and backs Billy Kinard and John Petitbon, who joined quarterback Babe Parilli and offensive guard-tackle John Macerelli in the trade. Blackbourn is looking forward to the Packers' defensive competition when training opens July 29. There could be as man as 11 veterans battling for the four secondary (deep safety and cornerbackers) spots if all report. They are Kinard, Petitbon, Bobby Dillon, Val Joe Walker, Ken Gorgal, Herb Rich, Billy Bookout, Glenn Young, Al Romine, Hank Gremminger and Gene White. Rich, former Los Angeles Ram and New York Giants, comes to the Packers in a trade with the Giants; White, a good prospect in '55, is coming out of service; and Young and Romine, both on and off last season, may get another trial. Three highly-prized rookies will be out to break into this unit - Frank Gilliam of Iowa, Gary Gustafson of Gustavus Adolphus and Ken Wineburg of Texas Christian. In front of the secondary, Blackbourn may need a lift from the draft to spell or help Palumbo, Bill Forester and Tom Bettis - depending on the type of defense used, of course. The draft includes four or five hot LB'er prospects, headed by Jack Nisby, the all-around star from College of Pacific. The fight at defensive end should be interesting what with returning veterans John Martinkovic and Nate Borden fighting with the skilled Massey and service-returnee Jim Temp, who displayed plenty in training camp in '55 before going into service...NO. 2 PROBLEM: Defensive tackle is the only position still unchanged but bolstering might be in order if proposed future trades are worked out. Veterans Dave Hanner and Jerry Helluin handled the two positions for the last three seasons, but Blackbourn is also hoping for some stiff competition - not to mention help - from the draft. Offense might be considered No. 2 on Blackbourn's list of objectives. The Bays already have the nucleus of a murderous offense with center Jim Ringo, ends Billy Howton, Gary Knafelc and Max McGee, slot back Ron Kramer, halfbacks Al Carmichael, Joe Johnson and Paul Hornung, fullbacks Howie Ferguson and Fred Cone, and quarterbacks Tobin Rote, Bart Starr and Babe Parilli, with help from Hornung. At least that's a good start for points...FUTURE TRADES: The real offensive bug is in the line where the Packers already have lost both starting tackles of '56 - John Sandusky and Bob Skoronski, plus offensive guard Forrest Gregg. Prospective future trades likely will be aimed at bolstering the defensive line, although the Bays have at least two excellent choices coming out of the draft - Dalton Truax of Tulane and Carl Vereen, and the veteran returnees, including former serviceman Al Barry...The Packers' big job now is signing the six newcomers to 1957 contracts. Reportedly, all are interested in continuing their pro football careers in Green Bay...It's a good bet that the Detroit Lions are unhappy about losing Zatkoff, but thus far there has been no official complaining. The Lions have had designs on Zatkoff for several months now - probably before Roger made his decision to "retire" from football. Zatkoff had hoped to play in Detroit so that he could work out a prospective job there. Coach Paul Brown of Cleveland has assured the Packers that "under no circumstances will Zatkoff be traded." The fact that Cleveland is so close to Detroit may give Roger an opportunity to play and still carry out his civilian-work plans. Roger is presently a teacher in Detroit's public school system.
'TRADE COULD GIVE US NFL TITLE,' SAYS ROTE
APR 23 (Houston-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Money makes the quarterback go. That bald phrase sums up what made Tobin Rote come out of "retirement" and what may possibly earn the Green Bay Packers the NFL title this year. Actually, the 29-year old field general, who holds most of the Packer passing records, isn't that mercenary. He signed a $20,000-plus contract for his eighth season for two other reasons. One reason for Rote's family. The other was to complete a key spot on the Packer roster on which depended on a major trade with the Cleveland Browns. Rote, who led the NFL quarterbacks in all departments except passing percentage in 1956, retired last January after throwing 1,854 passes for 12,135 yards and 89 touchdowns, eclipsing virtually every Packer record set by Cecil Isbell. "I never did want to quit," Rote said today. "But a man has to settle down. Think of his wife and kids. And a job with a future." So Rote did quit for a public relations job with Herrin Transportation Co., and Mrs. Rote settled down to raising four children in Houston. "It was unfair to be shuttling my family back and forth every year," said Rote. "Besides, you can play just so much football and then you're through." But Wisconsinites (everybody in Wisconsin owns the Packers) who already thought $18,000 worth about the former Rice Institute Cotton Bowl star, upped the ante so Mrs. Rote could "commute" by air to Green Bay while a paid nurse stayed with the children in Houston...CHAIN REACTION: But there was another spark to the Packer touchdown drive. Tobin's change of mind brought on a chain reaction in which Green Bay traded Bobby Garrett and Roger Zatkoff to the Browns, getting in return quarterback Babe Parilli, halfbacks John Petitbon and Billy Kinard, center Sam Palumbo, guard John Marcerelli and end Carlton Massey. The roster fill-in constitutes practically old home week for Rote. The trade loaded the Packers with quarterback talent. "They'll fit in with the scheme at Green Bay," Rote said. "They'll help our defense and offense, too. That trade could easily give us the NFL title."
STADIUM COMMISSION NAMES NIER PRESIDENT
APR 23 (Green Bay) - Meeting for its organizationsal session, the new Stadium Commission Monday elected officers and decided it should have authority over stadium operational contracts of less than one year in length. The officers named by the commission which will administer the new stadium are: City Attorney Clarence Nier, president; Ronald McDonald, vice-president; and Fred Leicht, secretary. The other commissioner members are Ald. Jerome Quinn and Ald. Robert Baye. Miss Florence Delany, who is employed in the mayor's office, will be recording secretary. In creating the five-member commission April 3, the City Council instructed it to write an ordinance for its operation. The commission will meet again at 7:30 p.m. Monday to continue work on the ordinance, which will be sent to the Council May 7. The decision to ask for authority over contracts of less than one year became part of the tentative ordinance draft. Members agreed that the commission's function should be "to manage and operate the stadium providing that all contracts which by their terms take one year or more to perform must be submitted to the Council for ratification."...DEFINE CONTRACTS: Recognizing questions raised about Packer Corp. representation on the commission, the group agreed upon the specific definition for operational contracts. The Packers have a contract to pay $30,000 yearly for 21 years as the corporation's half of the $960,000 stadium bond issue and interest on this half. The one-year maximum would give the commission authority to act on its own on annual or one-time requests to use the stadium by organizations other than the Packers and for annual concession and maintenance agreements. Touching on the concession subject briefly, commission members indicated quotations will be asked for annual rights after qualification are drafted to make certain concessions are operated by firms with experience in this field...TWO-YEAR TERMS: The commission also recommended that terms of its citizen and Packer members be for two years. It also agreed to propose that it set the times and frequency of its sessions, that expenditures be approved by a majority vote, that bills be certified for payment by the president and secretary, and that it deposit all its funds with the city treasurer. The group also will assume an advisory function to the Board of Public Works during construction of the stadium and parking lots to replace the special citizen-Council building committee named last year. City Engineer F.J. Euclide reported that an estimated $3,500 would be needed to sod the playing field and that this project and placing of suitable drainage dirt with seeding around the field should be started before grandstand construction encloses the field. Euclide also estimated that $20,000 might be realized from "black" dirt excavated when the stadium bowl was shaped last fall.
HERE'S FIRST LOOK AT NEW STADIUM...!
APR 24 (Green Bay) - Stadium Report No. 3: That big picture in the next five column is your first good look at Green Bay's new stadium. It's what stadium architect John E. Somerville called a "perspective drawing". Somerville also called it "an accurate drawing right down to the last detail." The drawing was prepared by Anthony Wuchterl of Sister Bay for Somerville and is the "final" of several drawings by Wuchterl. This drawing, incidentally, will also be the nation's football fans' first look at the stadium. Tom Miller, Packer publicitor, will relay it to the Associated Press in Milwaukee from where it will be wirephotoed throughout the country. The drawing will serve until a photograph of the finished product is made. The picture shows three buildings - the team building behind the south end zone, the three-decker pressbox on the west stand, and the ticket office and rest rooms in foreground under east stands. There are similar ticket offices and restrooms under the west stands. Somerville said that several changes have been made in the pressbox, which is 80 feet long and 14 feet from front to back, the chief of which was increasing it from two to three levels. The top deck will be for television and the other two will be for the radio, the press, scouts, etc. The pressbox and footings under the west stands are constructed so that an additional 20 feet can be added to each side, Somerville said. The stadium has two ramps splitting the north and south end zones. The south ramp provides an opening for the players as they leave or return to the team rooms. The northside ramp is for hauling in field equipment. Contractor George Hougard is moving at a rapid clip and presently he's finishing constuction of abutments for steelwork and the stands on the east side. Westside abutments already have been finished. Work is almost completed on the concrete wall in back of the end zone sections. The big task of building the seating structure will start as soon as the Varsity Seat Co. of Oklahoma City finishes setting up operations at the building area this week...On the team side, the Packer office was humming today again after being all but closed up Tuesday. Six members of the staff were out pushing tickets and Packers yesterday. Head Coach Liz Blackbourn was in Milwaukee for the Red Dunn trophy presentation banquet, while defense coach Tom Hearden was in Manitowoc for a Knights of Columbus fete. General Manager Verne Lewellen, Line Coach Lou Rymkus and Max Murphy of the Packer executive committee were in Sturgeon Bay to launch a season ticket drive. Tom Miller and publicity aide Fred Cone (until training starts) were in Sheboygan for a banquet. They also talked with season ticket officials there and in Two Rivers and Manitowoc. That left Jack Vainisi and Ray McLean - plus the office staff and, of course, Earl Falck in the ticket office...Carlton Massey, one of six players the Packers obtained in a trade last week with the Cleveland Browns, is in service. But don't get excited! He's at Fort Eustis, Va., under the six-month officers' program and will be out July 1 - in plenty of time for the opening of practice in Stevens Point July 28.
QUARTERBACK, END SPOTS MOST 'LOADED'
APR 24 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers will open training camp at Stevens Point in July with 40 veteran NFL players. The most "loaded" positions at this writing seems to be at quarterback and end. The recent signing of seven-year veteran Tobin Rote, considered by many as the league's top quarterback, and with the news that Bart Starr, prize rookie from last season, will be released from service, makes the above statement alone look good. Put with these two top quarterbacks Babe Parilli, recently acquired in a trade with Cleveland and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung of Notre Dame fame, it all adds up to one of the finest quarterback combinations in the NFL. The next best fortified position is the end where Bill Howton, Gary Knafelc, Max McGee and Ron Kramer will team up to make the Packers tops in that department. Howton was the league's leading ground gainer on pass receiving last year. Knafelc had a great year in '55 but was somewhat overshadowed by Howton's terrific year in '56. Max McGee was the Packers' regular left end in 1954 teaming with Howton to give Green Bay one of the top end combinations in the league. First draft choice, Ron Kramer of Michigan, was considered the best end in collegiate football last season and is picked as the college player most likely to succeed as a pro. There is much talk in the Packer camp of using Paul Hornung as an offensive halfback because of his speed, size and ball carrying ability. Elusive Al Carmichael will be shifted to the left halfback position to give him a chance to show some of his kickoff return agility on end runs. The recent trade with Cleveland, involving six players will reinforce a faltering defense. The secondary defense should better itself considerably with fourteen veterans and eight rookies battling for positions. An entrusting battle will be at the defensive end position by the acquisition of Carlton Massey from Cleveland, a three year veteran, Jim Temp, a promising rookie in preseason games in 1955, and Don Luft, a two year veteran from Canada and one year with the Philadelphia Eagles.
CAPTAINS, DEFENSIVE QB PACKER LOSSES...!
APR 25 (Green Bay) - The Packers are starting the 1957 season from scratch in the captain department. Events of the last four months saw the departure of the captains of the Packers' two platoons during the last two seasons. Offensive Captain Buddy Brown, the spunky and noisy guard, announced his retirement shortly after the 1956 season closed and Defensive Captain Roger Zatkoff was traded to Cleveland in the big deal last week. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn isn't particularly concerned at the moment. "Picking captains is the least of my problems. We'll do it during the training season," he explained. Pro captains are generally appointed by the coaching staffs - unlike the college teams which have the players vote for their favorites, most times a year in advance. Unless he's a born leader with ability to prove it, pro captains are picked for wiseness in making decisions. "And that's not tough," Blackbourn explained, "the captain, if he's undecided whether to take a penalty or not, can ask the official who will explain what happens if you do this or that, and where the ball will be." Most defensive captains around the league also call signals, acting as a sort of defensive quarterback, but that chore was handled by the Little Thinker, Deral Teteak, for the Packers. And since Teteak has departed for the freshman coaching job at the University of Wisconsin, Blackbourn is also faced with the task of finding a defensive signal caller. This S.C. is the guy who stands with his back to the enemy offensive team and makes with the sign language, although some teams, including the Los Angeles Rams, call a defensive huddle. Thus, while Blackbourn has a sizeable quarterback crew in Tobin Rote, Bart Starr, Babe Parilli and Paul Hornung, the coach is still looking for a quarterback - a defensive one, thank goodness!...BRIEFS: Blackbourn is toying with the idea of switching Carlton Massey, the defensive end obtained in the six-for-two trade with Cleveland, to linebacker. The Packers launched plans for a season ticket drive in Appleton today, with Appleton Packer Backers discussing the campaign with general manager Verne Lewellen, publicitor Tom Miller, Dick Bourguignon of the executive committee and Blackbourn. Speaker and kicker Fred Cone found what he called a "good ticket group" in Merrill last night where he addressed a banquet of the Wisconsin Valley Traffic Club. Cone continues the speeching at Slinger tonight while Miller does same at Brillion. Tom Bettis and Trainer Bud Jorgenson addressed a prep banquet in Crandon last night. One side, Mr. Carnegie! The Packers will have nearly 40 veterans in camp when training starts in July, unless of course, future trades take some of them away.