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Fuzzy Thurston, whose given name was Frederick Charles Thurston, wore #63 for the Green Bay Packers back in the day when offensive linemen became household names nearly as frequently as quarterbacks.
That’s why we focus today on Thurston as we continue our numbers countdown here at Lombardi Ave.
Coupled for years with his right guard cohort, Jerry Kramer, Thurston was one of those tough, blue collared linemen from the 1960s who would have given his life for a coach like Vince Lombardi.
Going to war every Sunday for the Green Bay Packers was an honor, and one that Thurston did for 10 straight seasons, until a knee injury slowed and eventually stopped his career in 1967.
For an in-depth look at every number and the players who wore them, we highly recommend “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore Them,” by John Maxymuk.
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In all, there have been 18 players since 1950 to have worn #63 for the Green Bay Packers.
Consider Scott Wells, for one. He wore the number from 2004 to 2011 and helped the team to a Super Bowl in 2010.
Adam Timmerman? As a right guard, he was a member of the the mid-1990s Packers that ran to the Super Bowl in 1996, but he left in free agency after the 1998 season.
The current player wearing #63 is starting center Corey Linsley. He’s been a climber … a player whose skills have been valued by the Packers, despite some lingering injuries he’s suffered over the course of the past couple of seasons.
However, of all who have worn this jersey, we once again reach into the 1960s to find Fuzzy Thurston, who was one of the most valuable to the Packers’ franchise of the time..
With Ron Skoronski to his left, and Jim Ringo, Jerry Kramer and Forrest Gregg on the right, Fuzzy Thurston was a member of a unit that was elite and bring in one of the most iconic plays of the past 50 years – the Green Bay Sweep.
Thurston was all about toughness, strength and blue collar ethics for the Packers.
John Maxymuk, the author of “Packers by the Numbers: Jersey Numbers and the Players Who Wore them,” had this to say about the man:
"Fuzzy Thurston’s father died of a heart attack when Fuzzy was five, so he was one of seven children raised by a single mother in Altoona, Wisconsin.When Lombardi took over the Packers … one of his first moves was to trade a backup linebacker to the Colts for Thurston.ORCHARD PARK, NY – DECEMBER 14: A general view of the Green Bay Packers football helmets before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on December 14, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)Cowboys’ Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly ranked him as one of the 10 toughest linemen he ever faced. Guards were featured performers in Lombardi’s offense, and Fuzzy frequently said, “There are two good reasons the Packers are world champions. Jerry Kramer is one of them, and you’re looking at the other one.”Lombardi himself [wrote] “He’s not quite as good a pulling guard as Jerry Kramer, but he’s a good short-trap blocker and he’s got enough quickness, size, strength, and determination so that when he and Jerry come out swinging around that corner together like a pair of matched Percherons, you can see that defensive man’s eyeballs pop. Fuzzy’s pass-protection blocking, though, is his big card, and he is as good as anyone in the league.”"
Back in the 1960s, kids on the playground wanted to be Jerry Kramer or even Fuzzy Thurston, and for those of us who have watched the Packers for 50-plus years, we understand that his iconic image as part of the Power Sweep on those hardened and muddy fields will live forever in Packers and NFL lore.
The times were simpler and game not as big, but if there was a bigger man with a bigger heart than Fuzzy who has played the game, I’m not too sure who it could be.
The following are all the players who have worn #63 for the Packers over the past 50 years: