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Packers legend and Hall of Famer Willie Wood passes away at 83

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The Packers’ stellar safety from the Lombardi era has passed away.

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One day after the Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, a man who helped send the Green Bay Packers to a victory over those Chiefs in Super Bowl I has passed away. On Monday evening, the Packers announced that Willie Wood has died at the age of 83 in his hometown of Washington, DC.

Wood, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, was a member of the Packers’ five NFL championship teams in the 1960s under head coach Vince Lombardi. As one of the team’s starting safeties for 11 of his 12 seasons, Wood was a five-time first-team All-Pro and made eight Pro Bowls. His 48 regular season interceptions rank second all-time in team history, behind Bobby Dillon, one of Wood’s predecessors in the 1950s who was just selected as a member of the 2020 induction class for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In addition to his regular season success, Wood recorded two postseason picks, including the first interception in Super Bowl history. That came when he picked off the Chiefs’ Len Dawson on the fourth play of the third quarter in Super Bowl I. Wood’s interception and 50-yard return in a 14-10 game set up the Packers to take a commanding 21-10 lead, and the Packers defense would not allow another point that day, winning the game 35-10.

Wood was also a productive punt returner, who returned a pair of punts for touchdowns in his second season in 1961. He also led the NFL in punt return average in 1964 with 13.3 yards.

One of five Hall of Famers on the Packers’ stellar defense in the 1960s, Wood earned his gold jacket in 1989, being inducted along with Mel Blount, Terry Bradshaw, and Art Shell.