Dec 21, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Green Bay Packers cornerbackTramon Williams
(38) in zone coverage against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Green Bay Packers defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20-3. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Wow, Green Bay Packers fans – Wow!
That’s first and foremost what needs to be said in terms of the way this Lombardi Ave all-time top-10 list series has been going.
Like many of you fellow Green Bay Packers fans out there, I understand that there is A LOT of history with the Packers – hell, that’s a pretty big part of the draw to the team in the first place – but it is still such an exciting surprise to be reminded by exercises like this series to remind us just how much more we can learn about our favorite team.
Researching for this particular article brought a ton of previously unknown information to my eyes, that’s for sure. Hopefully I’m not the only one who was in the dark on some of these guys I’ll be talking about; I think it’s pretty cool to impart all this newly-acquired knowledge to all of you readers.
So without further ado, I’ll get right into the list of my all-time top-10 Green Bay Packers’ defensive backs.
But first, here are some honorable mentions that missed the massively-overpacked cutoff:
Mark Murphy put in a solid career for Green Bay, playing in the Green and Gold for 11 seasons (1980-85 and 1987-91; 147 games). In that time, he compiled 11 total sacks and 20 total INTs. He also managed to lead the team in tackles and interceptions three times each, while garnering three-plus INTs in five different seasons. He also happens to share his name with the current president and CEO of the Packers (that Mark Murphy played for Washington from 1977-84).
Mark Lee spent his career in the dark (relative to the Packers at least) decade of the 1980s. Unfortunately, he ended his career right before the Brett Favre-led Packers of the ’90s returned the team to more consistent glory. He grabbed 31 INTs in his 11 seasons (1980-1990), including a nine-INT year (1986) and five different seasons with at least three INTs.
Tyrone Williams was a part of the third Packers Super Bowl team (1996), though he did not have much of a statistical impact there. He did manage to snag four-plus INTs for four consecutive seasons at one point (1998-2001) in helping garner a career total of 19 INTs in seven seasons (111 games; 1996-2002).
Doug Hart was a member of the Packers during an elusive three-peat of championships that included the first two Super Bowls (1965, 1966 and 1967). He didn’t contribute many interceptions (only 15 INTs in 7 seasons; 112 games), but he did manage to add in five defensive touchdowns across his career.
John Symank was on the back-to-back championship teams of 1961-62, though his statistical contributions are limited to the first one. Symank didn’t garner especially impressive career stats (18 INTS in five seasons; 1957-62), but the way he compiled the stats is impressive in and of itself. His rookie season saw him grab half of those INTs (9) while in the process picking up the still-standing team record for most INT-return yards by a rookie (198). He also led the team in INTs during three different seasons (1957, 1959 and 1961).
Tim Lewis may well have ended up really high on this list had his career not been cut short due to a neck injury. In his first three seasons (48 games; 1983-85) he managed to grab 16 INTs and score an INT-return TD; that INT-TD also happens to still stand as the longest such return in Packers history. His unfortunate injury occurred three games into his fourth year, becoming yet another sad moment in the rough patch that was the 80s for Green Bay.
Hank Gremminger could also have managed to put himself firmly into the main list had it not been for injury, but that is less because of his career being threatened than his replacement being someone who actually did end up entrenching himself high in the list (you’ll find that out later). When he was playing, he garnered 28 INTs in 10 seasons (123 games; 1956-65), including three separate seasons with five-plus interceptions. He was also a player for three championship teams (1961, 1962 and 1965).
Tramon Williams gave Green Bay some good years after being a former undrafted free agent cut from Houston before landing with the Packers, grabbing 29 INTs in nine seasons (127 games). He stayed pretty consistent, if not always playing to the heights he showed during the 2010 Super Bowl run (especially that game on the road in Atlanta); he collected three-plus INTs in six of his seasons with the Packers.