Green Bay Packers in the Hall of Fame: James Lofton

(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
(Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM) /

NFL Hall-of-Famer James David Lofton suited up for five different teams in his 16-year career, but he was primarily a Green Bay Packer, because he spent more than half of his career with them – the nine seasons from 1978-1986.

The wide receiver was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 2003, a decade after his career ended.

Lofton was born in Fort Ord, California, adjacent to Seaside and just north of the Golden State’s first capital of Monterey. He stayed in California for both high school and college, and went to Green Bay in 1978 after he was picked in the first round of that year’s draft with the sixth overall selection.

During his career, Lofton earned multiple All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors, and was named to the virtual all-decade team for the 1980s, during which span he played for the Packers the first seven of those 10 years.

Lofton was also (as would be expected) added to those belonging to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame.

As for statistics, Lofton averaged a little under 50 receptions for 1,000 yards and five touchdowns per season.

Lofton was the first player to amass 14,000 yards receiving. He also achieved the unusual feat of scoring touchdowns in three decades – the 70s, 80s, and 90s.

James was just 344 yards below 10,000 (receiving) when his career with the Packers ended, which was a team record until it was broken by another player who wore jersey #80, “The” Donald Driver.

In addition to that, Lofton ran the ball 32 times in his career for 246 yards, almost eight yards per carry.

The primary quarterbacks who played for the Packers during Lofton’s career in Packers News were David Whitehurst and Lynn Dickey.

In high school, rather than playing the position he would later be known for, Lofton played quarterback on offense (throwing the ball to wide receivers) and safety on defense (guarding wide receivers).

This experience doubtless helped prepare him for his future position-change, as he thoroughly knew what a wide receiver should do, could do, and would do in various circumstances and scenarios.

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Lofton switched to wide receiver in college (Stanford), and also excelled on the Track and Field team.

Following his playing career, Lofton coached wide receivers for his home-State San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders, and also did some broadcasting.