5. Signing of Don Hutson
It pays to get the check into the mail … and in the case of Green Bay Packers great end Don Hutson – the contract.
The year was 1934 – a year before the NFL Draft was official. It was also the year that Hutson was coming out of college and was being recruited by nearly every team, including the Green Bay Packers and the then-Brooklyn Dodgers – the football, not baseball, team.
As it turned out, Packers coach got Hutson to sign on the bottom line on Feb. 19, 1935, for somewhere between $175 and $300 per game.
However, the Dodgers also signed Hutson that same day.
Faced with the prickly decision on which team should be awarded Hutson’s service, the league office decided they would send him to the team whose postmarked contract was the first to arrive at the league office.
It turns out, the Packers’ contract was first to arrive and the rest, as they say, is history.
Hutson went on to become one of the best ever to play the game. He also helped the Packers remain a dominant team through the 1930s and into the mid-1940s.
Don Hutson was not only an offensive player. During the era when players went both ways, Hutson was an incredible defensive back. When he retired following the 1945 season, he was the second-ranking interceptor in NFL history with 30 picks. He also played defensive end until 1939, his fifth year in the league, or his interception totals most likely would have been much higher.
On offense, his production was beyond reproach for years.
According to , he caught 488 passes for 7,991 yards and amassed the remarkable total of 105 touchdowns in 117 games.
Hutson still holds title to no fewer than six major team records: most pass receptions, game, 14; most seasons leading the team in receiving, 10; most games with 200 or more receiving yards, 4; and most points scored in one quarter, 29; in addition to those records for career touchdowns, 105; and career touchdown receptions, 99.
Though we never had the chance to watch this man play, he brought excellence to the league and the team and is still considered one of the top five or 10 players every to “Don” a Packers uniform.
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