With 77 days left until the start of the NFL season, our countdown to the big day continues. Thursday, Sept. 4, is the day when the Green Bay Packers travel to Seattle to take on the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks. Over the course of the next 77 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … today its 77.
For an in-depth look at every number and the players who wore them, we highly recommend “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them,” by John Maxymuk.
Our last spotlight yesterday focused on #78 – a number that prompted our look at Bob Brown, a mountain of a man who helped the Packers win a championship in 1966.
Today we drop to 77.
I could go the route of talking about Tony Mandarich and how he’s one of the biggest busts in Packers franchise history, as well as one of the biggest disappointments across the NFL.
I can’t go there.
I could talk about Cullen Jenkins and how he helped lead the Packers to a championship in 2010.
His story has been told, too.
Instead, today we go back 50 years to the Lombardi years when Ron Kostelnik stuffed the run and helped anchor a defensive line that led the franchise to championship after championship. He replaced Dave Hanner in 1964 on the line and is one of those players from decades ago whose value to their teams are hidden forever because major defensive statistics were not kept.
Look up Kostelnik on Pro Football Reference and you will find a lot of zeros in his profile.
That’s sad for not only Kostelnik, but every player who have gone forgotten through the years.
He was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1961 NFL Draft.
Below are his statistics. Kostelnik played in 110 games with Green Bay in eight years with the team. He played 10 games with the Baltimore Colts in his final year – 1969. While in Green Bay he recovered seven fumbles – the only statistics attributed to Kostelnik.
Not much else is known about Kostelnik. He was elected to the Packers Hall of Fame in 1989 and died when he suffered a heart attack while driving on Interstate 75 in Kentucky Jan. 29, 1993. He was 53 years old.