Back in the 1960s, the Packers had three fearsome linebackers roaming the field. They were Lee Roy Caffey, Ray Nitschke, and Dave Robinson. Robinson is the one most notable at present, as he was just inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday. Let's take a look at his NFL career and note some of his highlights.
Robinson was drafted in the third round of the 1963 NFL Draft by the Packers, but his draft story didn't end there. The San Diego Chargers and Montreal Alouettes both drafted him as well. When the Chargers ran out of money, they tried to trade his contract to the Buffalo Bills. Robinson, however, elected to join the Packers, and played the 1963 season as a backup to Dan Currie.
In 1964, Robinson replaced Currie as strong-side linebacker, and his career took off. He was excellent against the run and pass, and tied Bob Jeter in 1966 for the team lead with five interceptions. Arguably, his most famous play also occurred in 1966.
In the NFL Championship that year, the Packers and Cowboys combined for 785 yards of total offense. Late in the game, the Packers led 34-27 but the Cowboys had the ball inside the Packers' five-yard line and faced a fourth-and-goal from Green Bay's two-yard line. Don Meredith attempted to roll out and pass, but Robinson was in the Cowboys' offensive backfield and began tackling Meredith. Robinson, however, was unable to complete the sack before Meredith got a pass off into the end zone. Due to the pressure from Robinson, though, the pass was intercepted by Packer safety Tom Brown, sealing the Packers' 34-27 win in Dallas and sending the Packers off to Super Bowl I.
Robinson continued to play through the years, and even when the Packers began declining in 1968, he continued to excel at the outside linebacker position, earning two first-team All-Pro selections in 1968 and 1969. While he tore his achilles' tendon in 1970, he returned in 1971.
He notably clashed with new Packers' coach Dan Devine, however, and said Devine was the worst coach he had ever had, at any level. Although he remained a Packer until 1972, after that season, he went to the Washington Redskins where he played two seasons for George Allen until 1974. He agreed to the trade because he said he would never play for Devine anymore. Robinson continued to play well in Washington, intercepting four passes in 1973, one of which he ran back for a touchdown. Robinson would retire in August 1975.
He recorded 12 fumble recoveries and 27 interceptions in his storied career. After retirement, he worked at Schlitz in Milwaukee, and also started a beer sales company in Akron, Ohio. He then worked as a marketer for an artificial turf company until 2006, when he retired from there. He has also been a member of the board of directors of the NFL Hall of Fame for 27 years, and he was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1982.
Robinson joins Jim Ringo, Forrest Gregg, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung, Jim Taylor, Ray Nitschke, Herb Adderley, Willie Wood, Willie Davis, and Henry Jordan as Lombardi-era Packers enshrined in Canton.
On behalf of all of us at Acme Packing Company, congratulations, Dave Robinson! It is an honor well deserved and long overdue.
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