Greatest players in Green Bay Packers history: 27. Tony Canadeo
Tony Canadeo may not have had the best skill set to be an NFL running back, but he certainly made the most of it. He wasn’t particularly fast or elusive. However, he had no problem running the ball down a defensive limeman’s throat, as the Packers star running back in the 1940s. Canadeo was a ninth-round pick by the Packers in the 1941 NFL Draft out of Gonzaga. Yes, Pacific Northwest college basketball powerhouse Gonzaga had football back in the day.
In fact, Canadeo was the last former Bulldog to play in the NFL, retiring from professional football in 1952. Canadeo spent his entire 11-year NFL career with the Packers over a 12-year span. He missed most of the 1944 season and all of 1945 due to military commitments for World War II. Regardless, Canadeo was a transcendent back for The Pack in 1940s.
Twice was Canadeo named a first team All-Pro, coming in 1943 and in 1949. Canadeo was one of the first NFL running backs to rush for over 1,000 yards in a season back in 1949. He was an NFL champion in 1944, a second team All-Pro in 1948 and made the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1940s.
Overall, Canadeo would finish with 1,025 career carries for 4,197 yards and 26 touchdowns. He was a capable pass catcher with 69 grabs for 579 yards and five additional trips to pay dirt in his career. Canadeo’s No. 3 jersey is retired by the Packers. He is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame. In 1974, he earned Canton enshrinement. His Pro Football Hall of Fame classmates include Bill George, Dick “Night Train” Lane and Lou Groza.