Green Bay Packers helmets sit on the field during the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field. Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

35 days to Packers football: Clayton Tonnemaker

With 35 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 35 days we focus on the number that represents the days remaining … and for today we take a look at two numbers, 35.

Our most recent look was at numbers 37 and 36, Mark Murphy and LeRoy Butler, who were both inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame and were safeties who were fan favorites.

Today we focus in on numbers 35.

There have been some interesting players who have worn #35 for the Packers; you may remember Samkon Gado and Michael Haddix or how about Korey Hall?

But today we let John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” take us back to 1950 with  a focus on Clayton Tonnemaker

Who?

Right.

Here is how Maxymuk describes Clayton Tonnemaker

Native Minnesotan Clayon Tonnemaker had his own Leaf Bubblegum football card in 1948 as a college player. He was co-captain of the Minnesota Gophers football team and an All American in his senior year of 1949. Among his teammates on the powerful Golden Gophers squad was future Vikings Coach Bud Grant.

Clayton was drafted number one by the Packers in 1950 and moved right into the starting lineup as a center and linebacker. In his memorable first game as a pro, he made over half the tackles against the Chicago Cardinals. Later that same year in a forgettable game against the Bears, Tonnemaker snapped the ball to the punter and then as stood up by Ray Bray and laid out by a sucker punch from Fred Davis. Clayton had to be carried off the field.

After his rookie year, Tonnemaker would spend the next 32 months in the Army Medical Corps, including a stint in the Korean War.

Upon his return to the Packers in 1953, the speedy 240-pound linebacker wrecked havoc on NFL gridirons or only two more seasons before returning to go into business.

His final foray in to sports was at the age of 32 in 1960 when he joined he first Minnesota Rugby Football Club in the Midwest Rugby Football Union.

He was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and died of a stroke in 1996.

Tonnemaker was honored in each of the three years he played in the NFL. In 1950, he ws named All Pro in his rookie year. In his first year back from the service was picked for the Pro Bowl in 1953, and in his last year he was a second team All Pro in 1954. If he had played a few more seasons in Green Bay, he probably would be in the Packer Hall of Fame.

 

Here is the list of all Packers players who have worn #35 over the past 50 years:

From To AV
Dave Conway 1971 1971 0
Samkon Gado 2005 2006 4
Jay Graham 2002 2002 0
Michael Haddix 1989 1990 4
Korey Hall 2007 2010 0
Jon Hoese 2011 2011 0
Allen Jacobs 1965 1965 0
Frank Mestnik 1963 1963 0
Walt Michaels 1951 1951 0
Del Rodgers 1982 1984 5
Clayton Tonnemaker 1950 1950 0
Kevin Willhite 1987 1987 2
Ray Wilson 1994 1994 0

Tags: Green Bay Packers

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