With 62 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 62 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … today its number 62.
Yesterday, we took a look at none other than Fuzzy Thurston, who at #63 was one of the offensive linemen who solidified the Packers offensive unit in the 1960s. Together with his pulling guard teammate, Jerry Kramer, the Packers revolutionized the game and won championship after championship.
Today we look at #62.
And when you take a look at the others on the list, very few stand out. Matt Brock was in Green Bay from 1989 through 1993, Evan Dietrich-Smith from 2009 through last season, and Bill Lueck from 1968 through 1974.
Most notably, Marco Rivera wore the number during the Packers run through the late 1990s through the early 2000s.
All of these players were serviceable in their time with the Packers, but none of them stood out as stars.
So, today we take a trip back – way back. Back to a time that very few, if any of us, remember.
John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” tells us about Russ Letlow, the Green Bay Packers first-ever first round draft pick. Curly Lambeau, the Packers coach at that time, made the selection.
Letlow wore #62.
Drafted out of the University of San Francisco, Letlow played a total of eight seasons with Green Bay, but during his time with the Packers, was also drafted into the military during WWII to serve three years.
Maxymuk tell us about Letlow:
If all the Packers’ number-one draft picks had turned out as well as their very first one in 1936, Russ Letlow, they would have even more championship banners than the league-leading 13 that they have won.
Until 1936, all college players were free agents who could sign on with the highest bidder. Curly Lambeau was a born salesman and did very well in this environment with the biggest catch coming in the last year before the draft when he outmaneuvered Shipwreck Kelly, the owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers football team, to sign Don Hutson in 1935. The college draft ostensibly was created to help put the weaker teams on more equal footing with the stronger ones, not to mention staving off any bidding wars for star plaers.
The first draft was a far cry from today’s affair. Russ Letlow, the Packers’ first pick, had actually already signed with the Chicago Cardinals as a free agent before the draft.
A few months after the Packers drafted him, the Cardinals notified Letlow that he was released. He became a Packer and an All Pro.
At six feet and 214 pounds, Letlow was a tackle at the University of San Francisco, but moved to guard in the pros.
He was first-team All Pro twice and was named to the second team in two other seasons.
in 1939, he was also selected to play in the league All-Star game – a precursor to the Pro Bowl where the NFL champs met a team of league all-stars.
In 1943, Russ went into the Navy and made the All-Service football teams in 1943 and 1944.
Upon his release he returned to the Packers for his eighth and final season in 1946.
Even if he handn’t been such a fine player, Russ Letlow would always be rememberd for his place in Packers history, and he was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1972.
The following are Russ Letlow’s career statistics with the Green Bay Packers:
Here is the complete roster of players who have worn #62 for the Green Bay Packers since 1950: