Packers until some Packer officials (Clifford and Conrad) came to the house last week and wanted me to sign the contract, too. It was very surprising because before he left for Los Angeles he told me he wasn't going to do a thing until he came back. I though probably he had signed in a hurry and I wanted to give him time to think about it, so I wouldn't sign. Saturday night he called me from Los Angeles and told me the Yankees had contacted him out there. He wanted to know if I had signed the Packer contract and was very pleased when I said I hadn't. He's going to make up his mind this weekend which team he'll sign up with and I hope he makes a good choice. It's up to him, though." George Strickler, assistant general manager of the Packers, had "no comment" today until he was able to clarify the matter with Lambeau and possibly Girard. Strickler was on a speaking engagement in Chicago this noon and was to return here tonight. Before leaving for Chicago Wednesday, Strickler said that "we advanced Girard some money so he wouldn't get stranded on the coast if that game Sunday blew up. We made arrangements for him to meet Lambeau at the Hollywood Roosevelt hotel on Wednesday, but he didn't keep his promise." The game, incidentally, drew less than 4,000 persons. Girard returned to Marinette early Wednesday. Strickler explained that Girard was contacted by Bo Molenda, Packer assistant coach, before the All-Star game and Molenda made arrangements for the meeting with Lambeau. As a bonus for signing, Girard was to be Lambeau's guest on the west coast for three weeks. Lambeau left immediately after the National league meetings in New York Sunday so that he could be with Girard...Meanwhile, the Packers are expecting today to receive a signed contract mailed from the west coast Wednesday by Fred Provo, University of Washington halfback. Provo, one of 11 backs drafted by the Packers, stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 185 pounds. He was an all-coast halfback in 1946 and last season won the Flathery medal as the squad's "best" player. With Washington Provo played left halfback and quarterback in the T-formation. He led the Pacific coast in punt returns, bringing back four for touchdowns - one a 68-yarder against Minnesota. In his last season, Provo gained 307 yards in 64 attempts for a 4.7 average. As a passer, he pitched 46 times and completed 28 for 435 yards.
THE LATEST - GIRARD DECLARES HE'LL KEEP PROMISE TO JOIN PACKERS
JAN 22 (Marinette) - Earl (Jug) Girard, triple threat halfback from the University of Wisconsin, declared tonight he would reaffirm his contract with the Green Bay Packers when he turns 21. Girard, who had been offered $10,000 by the New York Yankees of the All-America Conference, signed a Packer contract about 10 days ago for a reported $8,000. However, he won't be 21 until Sunday, and his mother, Mrs. Ann Girard, has refused to countersign the contract. His father is dead. Girard said he had talked by phone with Curly Lambeau, coach of the Packers, now at Malibu, Calif., tonight and that either Lambeau or a Packer representative would be in Marinette Monday to complete the deal. Girard said the new Packer offer was "close to 10 grand." However, Coach Ray Flaherty of the Yankees remained in Marinette tonight and hope to confer again with Girard. The Yankee management controls both the All-America Conference football team and the American League baseball club. Girard is an infielder in baseball.
JAN 23 (Marinette) - Coach Ray Flaherty of the New York Yankees left here this morning after an unsuccessful contract talk with Earl (Jug) Girard, former University of Wisconsin halfback. Girard said Thursday night he will reaffirm his contract with the Green Bay Packers.
INDIANA GUARD JOINS PACKERS; GIRARD STAYS
JAN 23 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packer office remained silent on the Earl (Jug) Girard situation today, but gave forth with some fairly hefty news - signing of Howard Brown, crack University of Indiana guard. Addition of Brown adds to the already sturdy line two of the outstanding guards in this year's graduating class. Larry Olsonoski, star of the Minnesota front wall and the East-West game last New Years' day, previously had waved aside lucrative offers from the All-America conference to cast his lot with Green Bay. The Packers obtained draft rights to Brown in 1945, but did not approach the stocky Dayton, O., product when it was discovered he had more eligibility at Indiana. Two hundred and fifty pounds, Brown is regarded by Western conference coaches as the best professional prospect ever turned out at Indiana. He has captained the Hoosiers for the last two seasons and both years was named their most valuable player. On each occasion he finished second in the balloting to select the winner of the most valuable player award in the Big Nine...RECEIVED PURPLE HEART: Brown began his collegiate career at Indiana in 1941 as a fullback. When injuries riddled the squad, however, he volunteered to play guard. Shortly after the 1942 season, he entered the infantry and fought through the European campaign, where he received the Purple Heart. He returned to Indiana a few days after the Hoosiers had defeated Michigan in 1945, but immediately took over his place in the line and played 52 minutes against Northwestern the following Saturday. He was named captain of the 1946 team after leading the Hoosiers to a championship in 1945. In 1946 he was named on the Football Coaches second All-American team, selected by the National Football Coaches association for the Saturday Evening Post, and re-elected captain in 1947...Girard put the damper on reports that he would go to the New York Yankees Thursday night when he declared at his home at Marinette that he would reaffirm his contract with the Packers when he turns 21 Sunday. Girard, who had been offered $10,000 by the Yankees of the All-America conference, signed a Packer contract about 10 days ago for a reported $8,000. However, Girard won't be 21 until Sunday and his mother, Mrs. Ann Girard, has refused to countersign the contract. His father is dead. Girard said he had talked with Packer Coach Curly Lambeau by long distance telephone to California Thursday night and that either Lambeau or a Packer representative would be in Marinette Sunday to complete the deal. Coach Ray Flaherty of the Yankees remained in Marinette Thursday night and hoped to confer again with Girard. Girard said the new Packer offer was "close to 10 grand." The Packer office had " no comment" today.
RENNEBOHM ON PACKER ROSTER
JAN 24 (Green Bay) - The Green Bay Packers are now six steps ahead of their 1947 pace. A year ago this very date, the Packers had announced nary a signed player. Today, the Packers had six signatures belonging to promising rookies. The latest script arrived this morning and it was palmered by Bob Rennebohm, University of Wisconsin end and a 1948 Packer draft choice. Signing of Rennebohn, a former La Crosse High school star, gives the Packers three Badgers. Besides Jug Girard and Rennebohm, there is Ralph Davis, a guard on last year's eleven. Girard, incidentally, has announced his intention of sticking to his original agreement with Lambeau by reaffirming his contract on Monday, the day after he reaches his majority...LETTERED AT MICHIGAN: Rennebohm, six feet and 195 pounds, earned three letters in football, two at Wisconsin and one at Michigan, where he was stationed one season while in service. He was named All-Conference end in 1946 and 1947 and both years received honorable mention on several prominent All-American selections. He was invited to play with the East team in the 1948 Shrine game, and also the North-South game, but rejected both offers because of previous business commitments. His outstanding all-around performance came in the Northwestern game last fall, when he captained the Badgers to a 29 to 0 triumph. But he is best remembered for his 60 yard return of the opening kickoff against Yale last fall, when the Badgers upset the Eli, 9 to 0. At Michigan he played end on the Wolverines' Big Nine championship eleven in 1943, while a V-12 student at Ann Arbor. From Michigan, he went to the Hawaiian Islands, where he served as a second lieutenant in the Marines. Generally contract conferences are not called until spring or ground graduation time, but Coach Curly Lambeau has ordered the tempo stepped up this year in an attempt to complete the makeup of his 1948 personnel before it is time to deal with all the detail chores of preparing for training. Contract business is not the only portion of Packer operation that has been accelerated under the new policy. The ticket office in the Legion building has been open daily since the Packers' last home appearance here against Detroit on Oct. 26 to handle season ticket applications and Ticket Manager Carl Mraz reports several hundred new season subscribers have been added to the books in recent weeks. Much of this new business had been gifts purchased by people who have solved their shopping problems by buying Packer season tickets for every occasion, including wedding anniversaries, birthdays and Valentines.
GIRARD SIGNS FIRST CONTRACT
JAN 26 (Green Bay) - Earl (Jug) Girard, former University of Wisconsin halfback, today signed to play professional football with the Green Bay Packers. Announcement of the signing was made in Marinette, Girard's home, by Assistant General Manager George Strickler, who said Girard had "reaffirmed his original contract with the Packers." The former Badger triple-threat star had signed with Packer Coach Curly Lambeau about two weeks ago for a reported $8,000, but had not reached 21 at the time and his mother, Mrs. Ann Girard, declined to countersign the document. "I have decided to reaffirm my original contract with the Packers," Girard explained, "because I don't want to go back on my word on the first contract I ever signed."...KEEPS HIS PROMISE: "I feel that I have many years of professional football ahead of me, and I want to spend them with the Packers. I gave my word to Mr. Lambeau, and I feel I owe it to him to keep my promise." Exact terms of the contract were not revealed, but at the time Girard signed originally, while aboard a train between Marinette and Green Bay, it was believed that Lambeau offered him $8,000 for the first year. Girard, who became 21 Saturday, hesitated all last week between the Packers and the New York Yankees of the All-America conference, with reported offers going as high as $10,000. Draft rights to the youth were held by both clubs. Bidding for the Marinette speedster's services started at about $7,500, an offer by the Packers which was matched by the Yankees. The $8,000 figure, reportedly the amount Girard signed for with Lambeau on the train, followed, and Girard continued to the West coast to appear in an advertised "All-Star" football game...SIGNED AT HOTEL: During his absence, his mother, Mrs. Ann Girard, revealed she was contacted by Packer officials, who wished her to countersign the document. She refused, she said because she "didn't think Jug had had time to make up his mind." A week ago, she said, her son called her from the coast and told her he had been offered $10,000 and a baseball contract by the New York club, which also controls the Yankees of the American League. He was "very glad", she said, when she told him she hadn't countersigned the Packer contract. Last week, Lambeau telephoned the ex-Badger star, who withdrew from school shortly after the end of the 1947 football season, and offered to match the Yankee offer, according to Mrs. Girard. "But I told Jug to think about it during the week, until he was 21 and could sign for himself," Mrs. Girard said. The final contract was signed at a Marinette hotel, with Strickler representing the Packers.
FANS READY TO TAKE UP SLACK - SO PACKERS NEEDN'T WORRY ABOUT INTEREST
JAN 28 (Milwaukee Sentinel-Lloyd Larson) - "Say what you want about me, but be sure to say SOMETHING and don't forget to spell the name correctly," once said a publicity wiseman who lived by, if not for the public. "When folks stop talking about me it will be time to start worrying, for then I'll know they are no longer interested," he added. Applying that thinking to a corporate body, the Green Bay Packers need not be concerned about their future. They get their share of publicity through legitimate news stories, such as the recent series leading up to the formal signing of a popular figure like Jug Girard, recent Wisconsin star. In season and out, as the news sources runs dry on occasions, the fans always are ready to take up the slack by word of mouth. They second guess; they ask questions by the hundreds; they spread rumors. And in so doing, whether they realize it or not, they are proving beyond all doubt their interest in the Packers - interest which enabled the Packers to grow into something of a state institution and hold their own with teams representing the nation's largest cities. The rumors, numerous and varied! Occasionally with some foundation - the last season story about Curly Lambeau's switch to Los Angeles, for instance. Insiders around the National League will tell you it wasn't a pipe dream at the time, despite vigorous denials by the pooh-pooh crowd. Now, of course, there is no doubt about it. Lambeau, an institution in himself, will stay at Green Bay, where he belongs...PACKER PRESIDENT GIVES HIS ANSWERS: Typifying the without-foundation brand was an old one about Lambeau owning the franchise personally and, therefore, having the Packer corporation and all Green Bay at his mercy. That was kicked around for a lone time before it was nailed down by conclusive proof that the valuable franchise is corporation property. Well, the rumor mill still is going strong. So I decided to toss some of the choice numbers into the lap of Emil R. Fischer, Packer president and a man in position to know exactly what's going in. Not only did he answer all questions put to him directly, but also expressed willingness to go on record. So here goes:
Question No. 1 (to clear up Lambeau's status once and for all): "Do you say, without qualification, that Curly will coach the Packers in 1948?" Fischer's answer: "Yes, without qualification."
Q. 2 - "Will the Packers move to Milwaukee? If not, have such plans been discussed at any time?" A. - "The Packers, as a state team, will continue to play part of their games in Green Bay and part in Milwaukee, the games and the dates depending upon the schedule drawn up by the Commissioner of the National league."
Q. 3 - "Is the Packer corporation considering any offer for its National League franchise? If so, is it a city represented in the rival All-America Conference?" A. - "NO. Nor has it."
Q. 4 - "Are the Packers planning to enlarge City Stadium at Green Bay? If so, when and to what extent?" A. - "Plans already have been drafted, but are being held in abeyance pending greater stabilization of construction costs. Plans also are considered for enlargement and improvement of facilities at Milwaukee."
Q. 5 - "Is Lambeau's status that of a stockholder as well as paid employee working under contract? Is the Packer Corporation a non-profit organization?" A. - "Yes, Lambeau's status is that of a stockholder and also a paid employee. Yes, the Packer corporation is a non-profit organization."
There you have it, fans: The Packer story will continue to be the tale of two cities (in Wisconsin) and the original idea man (Lambeau). And definite expansion plans are in the making. To President Fischer: Sincere thanks.
JOHNNY BLOOD GETTING ROOM, BOARD, LAUNDRY FOR $6.30 A WEEK
FEB 4 (Guam) - Yes, the Vagabond Halfback is on Guam. Surprising? It shouldn't be when one considers all the aspects. First of all, one should not register surprise at seeing Johnny Blood anyplace on the globe. He's been practically everywhere and has done practically everything. But on the other hand, Guam is now the crossroads of the Pacific, where you don't think anything of "running into" your former neighbor down on Marine drive or one of the spacious beaches. No, the Green Bay Packer great was not original in his venture to Guam. But the proverbial Riley has nothing on the life Johnny is enjoying. Guam harbors every type of character and personality and entertains with every mode of activity. There are derelicts, refugees from almost every state penitentiary in the Union, convicts, parolees, racketeers, hayseed businessmen, roly-poly-live-for-the-daty storekeepers, big dealing merchants, a busy U.S. Navy and Army, scurrying junior officers linked with the naval government and the dignity of the admirals and generals - a weird character contrast. Then there are frequent killings, knife fights, beer brawls, illicit acts against nature, but more on the enlightening side, the nightly cocktail and formal parties and croquet games for the hoy-poloy - a contrast in entertainment. But who do you think is on the other side of the island, taking it all in, leaning over a can of beer and puffing a casual cigarette - it's a calm, once-hell-raiser John McNally, better known as Johnny Blood. The former wily halfback is now recreation manager for the Brown-Pacific-Maxon contractors, in charge of the island's civilian recreation area. He has in his charge the only swimming pool on the island, clubs for families, bachelors, couples and a snack shack. All this is laid out on spacious Camp Ethridge site with a half-mile long beach on the blue Pacific. All buildings and the pool are overhung by palm and coconut trees, symbolic of the fictional tropical island paradise. Johnny has been instrumental in life saving out along the reefs surrounding his area. One Sunday night alone, he fished in five helpless, half drowned swimmers. He uses the war famous amphibious "duck" for these maneuvers. Last September, the Vagabond was asked about the Packers chance for the upcoming season. With little hesitation, he came out with, "Oh, they should finish third in the Western division and fifth in the league. The Cards should take the title," he added. Every Tuesday (we're ahead out here), Johnny would call the sports department for all the scores of the National league.
4-INCH AERIAL? 'TWAS NEARLY 2
FEB 5 (Green Bay) - The City Stadium pressbox on the Sunday afternoon of Oct. 18, 1942 has started to cool off. Green Bay's Packers, behind 21-17 at halftime, held a 31-21 lead over the Cleveland Rams in the fourth quarter, and the scribes settled back to enjoy their coke and brew and hot dogs. Finally, the Packers reached what looked like the Cleveland one-foot line - second down. Somebody yelled, "How close is it?" Somebody answered, "Close enough!" Somebody else answered, "Oh, about 4 inches." Most of the writers jotted "1 foot" down on their pads until the play started to unfold - and then, surprise, Cecil Isbell started back to pass with pay dirt only a Fritsch-foot away. Don Hutson did his patented fake dance and then scooted into the end zone. Isbell pitched and Hutson made a stretch catch for a TD. "How close was that?" everybody seemed to yell. The answer was "four inches - I told you before." And so, kiddies, the shortest pass on record went into the NFL books, and Packer Coach Curly Lambeay grew a shade whiter...CHARLEY BROCK SHOULD KNOW: The thing has been eating this writer for many a moon because the pressbox estimate was only a wild guess. Only one man actually would have noticed the nearly exact distance the ball was away from the goal line. It was the center - Charley Brock. Contacted by mail this week: "I would say that on that particular play the ball was from 2 to 3 inches from the goal line at the most. The tip of the ball was almost touching the white line." According to Charley's testimony, the ball must have been no closer than two inches - which should be about the distance between almost touching and touching. Incidentally, NFL rules describe a touchdown as "the situation in which any part of the ball, legally in possession of a player inbounds, is on, above or beyond the opponents' goal line, provided it is not a touchback."...STRANGE FOOTBALL THAT DAY: Now that you're nearly convinced that the shortest touchdown pass ever thrown is two inches, so what. Nothing, except that it might furnish fuel for argument someday when you hear your grandchildren discussing that "four inch pass back in 1942". Then you can say, "Young man, that record book is wrong: Charley Brock, who centered the ball, says it was only two inches." Probably the strangest thing about the whole business is that the Packers tried a pass in that position. Maybe it was deception but, off the record, that isn't the way we heard it because Lambeau doesn't gamble with a touchdown only two inches away and the Green Bays in front. The fans saw some strange football that day. The Rams were leading, 21-17, early in the third period and the Packers were in possession on their own 39, third down and only one yard to go for a first down. Did our boys try a plunge. Nope, Isbell attempted a pass, and, by golly, it was incomplete. So the Packers had to punt...FIRST LOOK AT JACOBS: Lambeau got his first look at Indian Jack Jacobs that day and he must have liked what he saw because last winter Jacobs came to the Packers in a trade for Bob Nussbaumer. Playing under the brilliant Parker Hall, Jacobs entered the game for the last play of the first quarter and pitched an eight-yard pass. On the very next play, Jacobs threw to Dante Magnani for a touchdown, the maneuver covering 67 yards. Jacobs got his hands on the ball one other time and ran 11 yards around the Packer right end. After Hall retired late in the game, Jacobs pegged to Jim Hightower for 19 yards and Magnani for 18 and 15 before Brock intercepted one just before the gun.
BRUCE SMITH IS CONSIDERING GOPHER COACHING POST OFFER
FEB 5 (Green Bay) - The University of Minnesota has made Bruce Smith, Green Bay Packer halfback, a "good offer" to serve as assistant coach next fall, Smith informed the Press-Gazette sports department from his home in Northfield, Minn., today. Mentioned in Minneapolis papers Wednesday as a successor to Dallas Ward, who recently signed at Colorado University, Smith said he will see Minnesota Head Coach Bernie Bierman Friday. Smith added in his wire: "After last season I don't expect Coach Lambeau (Packer coach) to send the contract I want. I want to hear from him before I decide." Smith played three years at left halfback for the Packers after a brilliant career at Minnesota and Great Lakes. He played great defensive ball for the Bays and averaged six yards per try on offense.
BRUCE SMITH, BIERMAN TALK IN MINNEAPOLIS
FEB 6 (Green Bay) - Green Bay Packer halfback Bruce Smith and Bernie Bierman, head football coach at the University of Minnesota, were to meet in Minneapolis today. Bierman and his former All-American back were scheduled to discuss a "good offer" Smith had received from Minnesota to serve as assistant coach next fall. Smith would replace Dallas Ward, who signed recently to coach at Colorado University. In a wire to Art Daley, sport editor of the Press-Gazette, Smith said he wanted to hear from Packer Coach Curly Lambeau "before I decide." He also said that "after last season I don't expect Curly to send the contract I want." There was no official comment from the Packer office today, although Smith's contract business probably will proceed in the near future. Lambeau is at his home on the west coast, and George Strickler, assistant general manager, is on a player signing tour of the south and southwest. In Minneapolis Thursday night, Bierman said he had nothing to say regarding the conference with Smith, adding he would have "nothing to say until there is something to talk about." Smith, contacted by the Associated Press Thursday night, confirmed that he had a meeting with Bierman today.
SMITH ANSWER WITHIN WEEK
FEB 7 (Green Bay) - The Bruce Smith-Green Bay Packer- University of Minnesota situation was at a standstill today. The Packer left halfback, contacted by the writer at his home in Northfield, Minn., this morning, said he had "a nice chat with Bernie (Bierman, Minnesota head coach) in Minneapolis Friday but we came to no agreement. I will not make a decision until I get in touch with Curly (Lambeau, Packer head coach) in regard to next season's contract." Smith, an all-time All-American from Minnesota under Bierman in 1941, said he hoped the matter would be decided one way or the other next week. Honest as the day is long, Smith, in explaining his wire to the writer Thursday, said that "I didn't think Curly would want me back after my performance last season." Smith had stated in his wire that "after last season I don't expect Curly to send the contract I want."...WILL BE 28 SUNDAY: Regarding a possible conference with Lambeau, Smith said that "Curly wired me to call him in Los Angeles Thursday night but nobody answered the phone at his home there. I got another wire to call him over the weekend." Smith, who will be 28 years of age Sunday, plans to meet with Bierman sometime next week, probably after he chats with Lambeau. The Associated Press, contacting Bierman in Minneapolis, quoted him as saying, "I have nothing to say about the matter." Bierman is without the power to hire Smith "if I wanted him." He can make recommendations to Athletics Director Frank McCormick, who, in turn, must submit appointments to the board of regents for approval. The university is seeking someone to take the place of Dallas Ward, who last week signed as head football coach at Colorado university. Win Brockmeyer, outstanding prep coach at Wausau, had been contacted for the job several years ago. Recently, Brockmeyer turned down an opportunit to serve as backfield coach at Wisconsin...KEY DEFENSIVE BACK: Regarding Smith's 1947 performance with the Packers, pro football observers readily will admit that the former Gopher star had a good season - one that would warrant his returning next fall. Smith was the Packers' key defensive left halfback - playing opposite Bob Forte. The Packers' defense - 3,396 yards in 12 games by passing and rushing - was tops in the league and so was their yardage permitted by passing, 1,790. Smith was injured in the Detroit game here and missed the Packers' next two games - an 18-17 loss to Pittsburgh and a 20-17 decision to the Bears. Because of his importance on defense, Smith was used little on offense, though he finished with a 6-yard average in 35 tries. Against Washington in Milwaukee, he ran 45, 66 and 68 yards for touchdowns but two of the runs were called back.