Green Bay Packers: Top 10 offensive linemen of all time

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Mike Michalske

. Published with permission of Aaron Kramer

#3 August “Iron Mike” Michalske

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The 6-foot, 210-pound Michalske began his pro football career with the New York Yankees of the new American Football League in 1926 but that league shut down after only one year. He was originally signed to block for standout running back Red Grange. The Yankees became an NFL team but folded after the 1928 season.

“Iron Mike” promptly signed to play with the Packers in 1929. Michalske was able to convince Packers coach Curly Lambeau to try him on the offensive line. It was there where he became the first great guard in pro football and was known for his combination of speed, agility and power.

Michalske was a standout two-way player who earned his nickname by playing 60 minutes of nearly every game in his eight-year career in Green Bay.

"“I just didn’t get hurt,” he explained. “The players used to say I must have been getting paid by the minute.”"

However, throughout his football career he played with an unrepaired congenital abdominal hernia. That alone showed how tough and courageous Michalske was. He also received the ultimate compliment from his teammates as being a football player’s football player.

A Packers Insider article from March 15, 2007, titled, “‘Iron Mike’ was Green Bay’s muscle” had this to say about Michalske:

"On offense, the 6-foot, 210-pound guard used his speed and power to pave the way for running backs Clarke Hinkle and Johnny “Blood” McNally. On defense, Michalske anchored the Packers line with Cal Hubbard to stop opposing backs and also specialized in rushing the passer."

Even opponents lauded Michalske.

"“I rate Hubbard, tackle; Michalske, guard; (Jug) Earp, center; and (Lavvie) Dilweg, end, as the best men in their positions I ever encountered in competition,” Red Grange, legendary Chicago Bears’ Hall of Fame halfback, said."

Mike Michalske was one of the greatest linemen in Packers history,” said the late Lee Remmel, former Green Bay Packers team historian. “‘Iron Mike’ was one of the stalwarts of the early Packers championship teams, when Green Bay and Curly Lambeau were making a name for themselves in pro football.”

“Iron Mike” played on three consecutive Packers’ championship seasons in 1929, 1930, and 1931; was a six-time consensus first team All-Pro in 1927-1931 and 1935; is a member of the 1920s All-Decade Team; was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1970 and was the first guard ever inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.

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