44 days to Packers football: Bobby Dillon


 

With 44 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 44 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … and for today that number is 44.

Most recently, we took a look at number 45, Ernie Smith.

Today we focus in on #44.

Number 44 is my favorite number. I grew up following the career of Hank Aaron with the Milwaukee Braves and later the Atlanta Braves. He wore the number.

I grew to love th number for both baseball and football players.

For the Packers, there have been a few – good, but not great players.

I’ve always really liked James Starks, the current player wearing the number. But in the past I’ve been known to cheer for guys like Jerry HolmesMatt Snider and Donny Anderson.

I would say that I liked Najeh Davenport back in the day before he started crapping in closets … so we’ll just that stand as it is.

So, who does John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” focus on in his chapter on #44?

Bobby Dillon, a defensive back who played with the team during the dreaded 1950s.

While one may see Anderson as a better choice to feature for #44, I understand completely why Maxymuk chose Dillon.

Dillon was a standout on a team that was just plain bad during the 1950s. The team was 39-79-2, a .323 average – pretty good for a Major League Baseball player, but not for an NFL team.

In eight seasons with the Packers, Dillon had 52 interceptions that he returned a total of 976 yards. He returned interceptions for touchdowns five times; his longest went for 61 yards.

Here is what Maxymuk has to say about Dillon:

Bobby Dillon lost an eye at age 10 in an accident. That hardship did not keep him from becoming a star defensive back and punt returner at the University of Texas, where he was team captain in his senior year. He continued his success in the pros for the Packers, leading the same in interceptions every year but his final one, becoming a four-time All Pro, and going to four Pro Bowls.

Once he picked off a pass he knew what to do with it; he retired with a second-best career 18.8-yard average interception return, and took five in for touchdowns. He stole nine passes in three different season, and in a Thanksgiving game against the Lions he nabbed four. Overall, he is still among the leaders in all-time team interceptions. Dillon retired with 52 interceptions to his credit. Had the Packers been a better team during the 1950s, his numbers might have taken him to the Hall of Fame.

However, he was elected to the Packer Hall of Fame in 1974 and to the Texas Sports Hall of Fame in 1996. His last season was Lombardi’s first, and it was the only year he played for a winner in Green Bay.

Here are the Packers players who have worn #44 over the course of the past 50 years:

From To AV
Donny Anderson 1966 1971 48
Vickey Ray Anderson 1980 1980 0
Chris Darkins 1997 1997 1
Najeh Davenport 2002 2005 9
Bobby Dillon 1952 1959 0
Charlie Hall 1975 1976 4
Jerry Holmes 1990 1991 11
Bob Kroll 1972 1972 3
Chris Mandeville 1987 1988 0
Von Mansfield 1987 1987 1
Clarence McGeary 1950 1950 0
Dexter McNabb 1993 1993 0
Dwayne O’Steen 1983 1984 0
Matt Snider 2000 2000 0
James Starks 2010 2013 14
Dave Stephenson 1951 1951 0

 

 

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