Last week the Green Bay Packers had their annual alumni event for their game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.
Former Packer greats like John Anderson, John Brockington, Willie Buchanon, Leroy Butler, Al Carmichael, Paul Coffman, Fred Cone, Dan Currie, Lynn Dickey, Gerry Ellis, Ken Ellis, Antonio Freeman, Johnnie Gray, Ahman Green, Chris Jacke, Ezra Johnson, Gary Knafelc, James Lofton, Don Majkowski, Chester Marcol, John Martinkovic, Mark Murphy, Ken Ruettgers and Frank Winters were in attendance.
In addition, so were a number of players who played on the team which won Super Bowl I. This included Donny Anderson, Zeke Bratkowski, Allen Brown, Tom Brown, Bill Curry, Carroll Dale, Willie Davis, Boyd Dowler, Marv Fleming, Jim Grabowski, Forrest Gregg, Doug Hart, Dave Hathcock, Jerry Kramer, Red Mack, Dave Robinson, Jim Taylor and Steve Wright.
The Super Bowl I players will be honored on Monday night at Lambeau Field when the Packers take on the Kansas City Chiefs.
If you look at the first group of players, all of them are now in the Packers Hall of Fame due to their playing prowess on the field. So are a number of the Super Bowl I alumni, and some of those players are also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
One player who definitely should in Canton, but who isn’t, is Jerry Kramer.
Kramer was part of the 1958 draft class for the Packers. That class has to be the best draft class in the history of the Packers, as well as one of the best ever in the NFL.
Just look at that draft.
In the first round, the Packers selected Dan Currie from Michigan State.
In the second round, Green Bay took Jim Taylor from LSU.
In the third round, the Packers picked Ray Nitschke from Illinois.
In the fourth round, the Pack went with Jerry Kramer from Idaho.
Taylor and Nitschke have busts in Canton, while Kramer certainly should have one too.
Currie was a very talented player as well.
In seven years with the Packers, Currie was named first-team All-Pro once by the Associated Press, plus was also given that same designation three other times by NEA (Newspaper Enterprise Association), twice by UPI (United Press International) and once by the New York Daily News.
Currie was also named to the Pro Bowl in 1960.
In his years in Green Bay, Currie played left outside linebacker. Currie was normally grouped with Nitschke, who played middle linebacker, as well as Bill Forrester, who played right outside linebacker. In 1964, which was Currie’s last year with the Packers, Forrester was replaced by Lee Roy Caffey.
Currie was a very athletic linebacker and he also had a nose for the football. No. 58 had 11 career interceptions for the Packers in the regular season, plus recovered six fumbles.
Currie also picked off a pass in the 1962 NFL Championship Game against the New York Giants at frigid and windy Yankee Stadium.
That was the game in which Kramer kicked three field goals and an extra point in the 16-7 win for the Packers. No. 64 also played right guard that day, as Taylor ran for 85 yards and also scored the lone Green Bay touchdown. As a team, the Packers gained 148 yards rushing that day.
After the 1964 season, Vince Lombardi traded Currie to the Los Angeles Rams for wide receiver Carroll Dale.
I had a chance recently to talk with Kramer about Currie.
“Dan was the number one draft choice,” Kramer said. “Out of Michigan State. He was an All-American center and an All-American linebacker as well. A great all-around football player.
“Dan had his opinions. For instance, one of the coaches were trying to tell him one time that he should have done something else on a particular play. So Dan says, ‘It’s instinct! You put me in the same position and the same thing happens, I’m going to do the same thing!’
“But Dan was a super ballplayer. He was also a proud ballplayer. Dan took care of his business.
“We called him Dapper because he always wore a coat and tie. He was always dressed well.
“Dapper could have had a career in Hollywood. He was a Clark Gable type of guy. He had a lot of fun and had a great sense of humor.”
Currie suffered a knee injury with the Packers and he was never the same ballplayer he was earlier in his career.
Kramer talked about that as well.
“Tommy McDonald was a wide receiver for Philadelphia and he probably went 5’10” and 175 pounds. He was a little ball of muscle and energy. Anyway, he cracked-back on Dapper’s knee on a running play one time.
“That tore Dan’s knee up and he was never the same after that injury.”
If one looks at Currie’s interception in the 1962 NFL title game, No. 58 had clear sailing for a pick-six. But as he was running near the sideline of the Packers, his knee gave out and he stumbled and fell after returning the interception 30 yards.
After his playing career ended, Currie eventually became a security guard at the Stardust Hotel in Las Vegas for 25 years.
Currie is now in an assisted living center in Las Vegas and has come across some difficult times.
It didn’t help matters when Currie was assigned a private, for-profit guardian named April Parks by the court system of Clark County.
People who are close to Currie, like good friend Joanna Saxton, started noticing improprieties occurring after Parks became Currie’s guardian.
Saxton talked to Kramer about a number of alarming issues which were ongoing under Park’s watch as guardian.
Kramer then enlisted the help of Bob Schmidt, who is the Executive Director of the Pro Football Retired Players Association.
Schmidt also reached out to Dana Lihan, who is the Program Director for the NFL Player Care Foundation.
The situation took a dramatic turn this past Monday, when Parks had her home and office served with search warrants by the police for guardian exploitation.
Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears is the KTNV reporter who has closely been following this case.
Spears has asked the court what will happen with all the people (more than 100), including Currie, who are under the guardianship of Parks, now that police have seized her files, paperwork and computer equipment.
The court hasn’t responded as of yet, but one thing is for sure, better days are ahead for Currie.
When Currie was in Green Bay last weekend, he and Saxton met with Kramer and his son Dan at the Stadium View bar on Saturday night.
Then on Sunday morning, they all had breakfast together.
On Sunday night they all celebrated a great victory by the Packers over the Seahawks at Lambeau Field.
Once this guardianship issue is resolved for Currie, there will be another celebration.
You can be certain that Kramer will be with Currie in Las Vegas toasting that victory.