Packers Hall of Fame Member Dies at 90 Years Old

Getty The Green Bay Packers lost one of their Hall of Fame members in Gary Knafelc.

The Green Bay Packers lost a member of their Hall of Fame, and one of the only remaining living players from the beginning of the storied Vince Lombardi era, on Monday, December 19.

The team announced via its official website that former wide receiver and tight end Gary Knafelc died at the age of 90 in Clermont, Florida. Knafelc played for the Packers from 1954 through 1962 and was only one of two remaining players who were still alive and had played for Vince Lombardi in his first game as Green Bay’s head coach. Jerry Kramer is now the only remaining living player from that team.

Along with playing for the Packers for nine seasons, Knafelc was also the PA announcer for the team for 40 years from 1964 through 2004. He called games for the team from both Lambeau Field and Milwaukee County Stadium for home games in both Green Bay and Milwaukee.

Remembering Gary Knafelc’s Career

While he may not have been the most iconic player from the Lombardi era, Knafelc’s contributions both on and off the field helped him earn a well-deserved spot in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Knafelc was an intriguing pro prospect coming out of the University of Colorado in Boulder before being selected by the Chicago Cardinals in the second round of the 1954 NFL draft. Sadly, a hamstring injury he suffered in the College All-Star game resulted in Knafelc being waived after just one game with the Cardinals.

It didn’t take long for Knafelc to find a new home, however, with the Packers picking him up just a couple of weeks later. He primarily served as the team’s left end for several seasons until Lombardi arrived, then moved to right end to play a key blocking role in the Packers Sweep. Knafelc admitted that it wasn’t his favorite move, but explained how he was able to be successful in the role.

The Sweep Run Play detailed by Coach Vince LombardiCoach Lombardi details the finer points of the sweep. #spreadoffense2021-10-17T11:22:47Z

“I learned to block by fear,” Knafelc once said according to Packers historian Cliff Christl. “I feared (Lombardi) more than anybody I faced.”

Although Knafelc eventually lost his job to fellow Packers legend Ron Kramer, he was still a solid contributor to Lombardi’s offense and was a part of back-to-back NFL championships in 1961 and 1962. With his work as both a player and the team’s PA announcer for 40 years, Knafelc will be remembered fondly by Packers fans and enshrined forever in the Packers Hall of Fame.

Latest Packers News

The Packers were able to secure their third straight victory on Monday Night Football over the Los Angeles Rams, winning 24-12. Although the game wasn’t always pretty, there were still some bright spots.

One of the team’s new faces for this season in Keisean Nixon had a breakout game as a return specialist, causing fans to celebrate on Twitter. He averaged 31.7 yards per kickoff return and 18 yards perp punt return, flipping the field multiple times for the Packers.

Prior to the game, the Packers parted ways with veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins. The former fourth overall pick had struggled to stay healthy, and with the emergence of young receivers like Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs, the Packers decided to ride with their younger players for the rest of the season.

With just three games remaining, the Packers will need to win out and have a little bit of help if they want to find a way to sneak into the playoffs.

Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x