Ex-NFL legend and Hall of Famer Willie Davis died today, April 15, at the age of 85, Pro Football Hall of Fame has reported. They posted the news in an obituary on their site. His cause of death has not been confirmed.
Davis was a defensive end who played for the Cleveland Browns from 1958-1959 and the Green Bay Packers from 1960-1969. He was a two-time Super Bowl champion, winning the first two Super Bowls in history, a five-time NFL champion, a five-time NFL Pro Bowler.
Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker issued the following statement:
It is with great sadness the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Willie Davis. Willie’s extraordinary athleticism was an undeniable factor in Green Bay’s winning tradition of the 1960s under Coach Lombardi. He helped the Packers through an unprecedented championship run and to two Super Bowl victories. Willie was a man of true character on and off the field. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations.
The statement adds that the Hall of Fame’s flag on the museum’s campus will be flown at half-staff to honor Davis’ memory.
Davis Was Drafted Into the NFL in 1956 by the Cleveland Browns
Davis went to Grambling State University in Louisiana, playing football for the university team as an offensive tackle and a defensive end. He was drafted during the 1956 NFL Draft, when he was selected 181st in the 15th round by the Cleveland Browns. However, he did not start his NFL career until 1958 because of his military service.
He played his first NFL season in 1958 for the Browns, filling different positions for both offense and defense. He was then traded to the Green Bay Packers in 1960, where he played out the rest of his Hall of Fame career.
After joining the Packers under Vince Lombardi, he became a permanent defensive end wearing number 87. In his 12 years playing in the NFL, Davis did not miss a single game. He recovered 22 fumbles during his career and had two interceptions. His last season in the NFL was in 1969, and he was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981.
Fans Have Expressed Their Sadness on Social Media at the News of Davis’ Death
The Green Bay Packers posted a photo and tribute to the former player on Instagram. They wrote: “Packers legend Willie Davis has passed away at age 85. The Hall of Fame defensive end started on all five of Vince Lombardi’s championship teams.”
The post received thousands of likes and responses. One fan wrote in response: “RIP Legend.” Another added: “RIP WILLIE thanks for the memories. GOD BLESS &Welcome you home.”
One fan wrote: “One of the best to ever do it. Rip.” Another shared: “Had the honor to meet Willie on a number of occasions. First class guy! RIP Willie….”