PACK MOVES TO AID DEFENSE; DRAFTS END, TACKLE, GUARD
JAN 31 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - The Green Bay Packers moved to strengthen their defense, most porous in the NFL last fall, in the early rounds of the league's annual college player draft which opened at the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel here today. To that end, Head Coach Liz Blackbourn claimed Jack Nisby, a guard from the College of the Pacific, in the sixth round via the Chicago Cardinals, then grabbed Frank Gilliam, Iowa end, and George Belotti, Southern California tackle, in the seventh and eighth rounds. The Packers had to surrender their firfth and sixth choices to the Cleveland Browns as payment for 1956 trades, but collected a sixth pick from the Cardinals for Tom Dahms, dealt to the Big Red early last season. Nisby, accorded an "A" rating in the Packers' prospect grading system, reportedly possesses all the qualities to make him a defensive star in the NFL. According to Earl Klapstein, Packer scout who resigned earlier this month, the 6-foot, 2-inch, 230-pound Nisby is "very tough and quick on defense and quick reacting. He is excellent in pursuit and can cover on pass defense," Klapstein added...Gilliam, light for a defensive end by pro standards at 187 pounds, was selected by Blackbourn because scouts regard him as a "good defensive halfback prospect." As one ivory hunter put it, "he is small but so active, agile and fast that he makes up for the lack of weight. I believe (he) may be a real good prospect as a defensive halfback." The same scout said Gilliam "really came into his own" with the Hawkeyes' Rose Bowl and Big Ten champions last fall. More significantly, another reported "he has been making crucial plays all year." Belotti, restricted to five games by the Pacific Coast Conference ruling on seniors at USC and UCLA, was characterized by one scout "as a good tough pro type tackle - one of the best on the coast. He has played in tough competition and stands up well." Blackbourn attempted to bolster the Packer office with his ninth and tenth picks, selecting a pair of halfbacks, Ken Winberg of Texas Christian and Gary Gustafson of Gustavus Adolphus. Mike Michalske, former Packer great, rates Winberg, 6-3 and 185, as "the No. 3 offensive back I've seen this year - behind Arnett and Shofner. I also would rate him the No. 3 defensive back I've seen." Gustafson, 6-2 and 185, reportedly runs the 100-yard dash in 9.7 seconds. These five augment the five selections the Packers made in last November's early draft when they picked Notre Dame's versatile Hornung as their bonus choice, then drafted Ron Kramer of Michigan, halfback Joel Wells of Clemson and tackles Dalton Truax of Tulane and Carl Vereen of Georgia Tech, in order...The Philadelphia Eagles opened today's session by drafting Jimmy Harris, who quarterbacked Oklahoma to two straight national collegiate titles. The Eagles surprised press row by simultaneously announcing Harris' signing - with a prepared release. It developed that the Philadelphia management, realizing that the Eagles would draft first today, had signed the Sooner star well in advance of the meeting. Cleveland emerged with two picks in both the firth and sixth rounds - their own and the Packers. The Packers selected a pair of tackles for the Browns, Henry Jordan of Virginia on the fifth and Indiana's Joe Amstrutz on the sixth. The Los Angeles Rams also had double rations in both rounds, selecting University of Washington halfback Dean Derby in the fifth, on a choice acquired from Washington, then picking Dick Enright, a guard from Southern California, in the fifth. In their rotation spot, the Browns picked Milt Campbell, U.S. decathlon champion and former Indiana star. The process of selection has been slow, each club giving considerable consideration to every choice. The Packers followed the pattern by deliberating for more than 10 minutes before naming Gilliam as their seventh choice...The draft wasn't the only thing on Blackbourn's mind today. He was presented with some bad news when John Sandusky, starting offensive tackle last fall, strolled into the newsroom to announce he had signed as line coach at Villanova and thus will not be available in '57. Blackbourn also has been huddling with Buddy Parker, head coach of the Detroit Lions, and there is a suspicion that a trade with last year's Western Division runnerup may develop in the near future. Paul Brown also is reportedly interested in talking trade with the Packers...Today's draft was the first official act of business at the league's annual convention. And, almost history-making, the draft had the blessing of the league's veteran players, most of whom were draftees themselves not many years ago. The National League Players Assn., composed of representatives of each team including Billy Howton of the Packers, went on record Wednesday afternoon in the presence of Commissioner Bert Bell as follows: "In the best interest of the public and the professional football players, the conditions under which they play, and their contractual agreements with club owners, we believe that professional football as a sport is best served by the present method of selecting college players."...WANT OPTION CLAUSE: The statement and proposals were made by players Norm Van Brocklin of Los Angeles and Kyle Rote of New York and the association's lawyer, Creighton Miller of Cleveland. In another "historic" move, the players' group stated that "the existing option clause in the players' contract be retained. This clause provides for a one-year option, and no more, for the services of a player." The players thus agree with club owners that there would be chaos if the option clause was thrown out. With no option clause, all players in the league would be up for a sort of auction each year. The players also asked: 1 - A minimum salary of $5,000 for any selected player. 2. During the preseason period, a stipulated amount of expense money per week for veteran and rookie players. 3 - A minimum of $12 per day for lodging and meals during the period after the team leaves training camp until the first league game, provided team does not have a place for them to live and does not provide their meals. Also, a minimum of $8 per day for clubs on the road when meal money is advanced. 4 - Inclusion of the "injury clause" in the players contract, this contract to read: "If this contract is terminated by club for reason of player's failure to render his services hereunder due to disability resulting directly from injury sustained in the performance of his serviced hereunder at any time after player reports to training camp, club agrees to pay player at the rate stipulated in paragraph 2 for the balance of the season in which the injury was sustained." 5 - That the training period be of shorter duration. Bell said he would present the players' proposal to the business meeting starting Friday and that if no action were taken he would arrange a players' group meeting with the owners in about two weeks.
PICKET MARSHALL AT NFL MEET OVER COLOR LINE
JAN 31 (Philadelphia) - Anything can happen at a NFL meeting, and the 1957 version is no exception. This is the first convention in history that is surrounded by pickets, and the object of the demonstrators is George Preston Marshall, mouthy owner of the Washington Redskins. Why? Somewhere along the line Marshall stuck his neck out (as usual) on the matter of drafting and signing Negro players. John H. Young of New York, in charge of picketing, said that the picketing will be extended to all games played by the Redskins in the league's cities unless Marshall showed himself willing to hire Negro players. Young is chairman of the Red Rooster Sports committee, a group of Negro fans and former athletes. He said the picketing is not directed against the other 11 members of the league, nor against the Hotel Bellevue-Stratford, where sessions are being held, and there will be no attempt to keep anyone from entering. Latest proof of Marshall's attitude, according to Young, was his action last November in passing over Negro Jim Parker of Ohio State, one of the nation's top linemen. Actually, Young was haywire on this point because Washington never had a shot at Parker. Baltimore, picking in front of Washington, grabbed the OSU star. At any rate, Marshall is on something of a hot seat. It will be interesting to see if George picks a Negro...The Packer delegation really got out here in a hurry Wednesday afternoon. The DC-6 United Airlines plane made the trip from Chicago to Philadelphia in one hour and 47 minutes - almost an hour under the normal time for the flight. The Giant plane, flying at 21,000 feet, was slammed along by a 145-mile tailwind that raised the plane's flying speed (average) to 450 miles per hour. The plane captain said "that's only 50 miles less than our commercial jet will travel in 1960." The record time between the two cities for a DC-7, a larger and more powerful plane than the "6", is 1:28. No record was available for the six. The pilot, in an apparent effort to cut his time, banked the big plane sharply for a quick landing instead of the usual slow, almost even-keel circling. "Guess that's the only way to travel?" Coach Liz Blackbourn laughed when the plane unloaded 30 pop-eyed passengers.
GOOD CHANCE MCGEE WILL BE AVAILABLE TO PACKERS FOR '57
JAN 31 (Green Bay) - There is a good chance that the gifted Max McGee, feared lost to the Air Force until 1958, will be cantering about the NFL in Packer silks next autumn. This pleasant possibility came to light when Max, an Air Force pilot, flew here from Eglin, Fla., Air Force Base Wednesday to discuss his football future - only to discover Head Coach Liz Blackbourn was in Philadelphia for the NFL draft meeting. McGee, the Packers' regular offensive left end in 1954 before service, didn't have to chalk up the visit as a total loss, however. He made arrangements to enroll in pre-law at St. Norbert College in January, 1958. Under this commitment, he should be eligible for "an early out," McGee explained. Together with accumulated leave time, it is expected to make him available "about Oct. 1 so I should be able to play about 10 games." First Lt. McGee, stationed with a drone squadron, was an all-Air Force selection last fall along with two other Eglin Field teammates, quarterback Zeke Bratkowski and right end Jim Dooley of the Chicago Bears, In '54, his rookie year in the NFL, McGee was a standout, catching 36 passes for 614 yards and nine touchdowns to finish as the Packers' No. 2 scorer with 54 points. He also did all the Bays' punting and finished fifth in the league with a 41.7 average for 72 kicks. McGee, who flew the 850 miles from Miami in a B-17 with Capt. Roy Campbell, was taken aback by Green Bay's frigid climate. When he has left Eglin, the thermometer stood at 85 degrees. Upon reaching Green Bay five hours later, he noted a difference of 89 degrees - it was four below zero. Max, now 24, was happy to report he's holding his playing weight. "I'm 200 right on the button," he smiled. "I've been the same weight the last four years."
PROPOSE MOVING PACK-SHRINE TILT TO CO. STADIUM
JAN 31 (Milwaukee) - The Milwaukee Shriners, who have sponsored an annual preseason football game between the Green Bay Packers and a NFL opponent, are interested in moving the game from Marquette Stadium to Milwaukee County Stadium. Milwaukee County Supervisor Edward Lane said Wednesday that the Packers and other NFL clubs have not been satisfied with the gate they have drawn in the Marquette bowl, which seats only 20,102. The County Stadium has room for 43,117.
PACK LOSES NO TIME CLEANING UP DRAFT
FEB 1 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Packer coaches are wasting no time cleaning up the 1957 draft. They finished making selections at 11:30 Thursday night, worked out travel schedules, caught eight hours of sleep, and then left the city of brotherly love today for the purpose of signing at least 19 of the 25 picks. Six selections can't be signed since they are eligible underclassmen. Packer affairs at the business meetings today are in the hands of President Russ Bogda, General Manager Verne Lewellen and Packer attorney Fred Trowbridge. Coach Liz Blackbourn ordered full speed ahead on player signing for two reasons: the danger of Canadian interference, particularly on the first 10 selections, and to get an early start in preparations for the 1957 campaign. All of the players were officially notified - with greetings and congratulations - of their selection by the Packers by wire Thursday night. And two of them, guard Jack Nisby of College of Pacific and tackle George Belotti of Southern California, were contacted in person Thursday by former Packer coach Earl Klapstein, who lives in Los Angeles. Blackbourn, keeping his fingers crosses, felt that "we got our share of good players." The Packer picking committee, composed of Blackbourn and aides Tom Hearden, Ray McLean, Lou Rymkus and Jack Vainisi, managed to correct some of the club's weak spots and still get good all-around players - at least on paper...A total of 311 players were selected by the 12 clubs Thursday in the last 26 rounds. The teams picked the cream of the draft in the early draft last November, including bonus choice Paul Hornung by the Packers. Winning the bonus automatically removed the Packers from the 30th round. Blackbourn stayed with big-school athletes and stepped into the small-college field just twice to get Green Bay's Jerry Johnson, a junior tackle at St. Norbert College, and halfback Gary Gustafson of Gustavus Adolphus. Blackbourn had hoped to come out of the '57 draft with two Green Bay stars instead of one. He had his heart set on nailing Lee Hermsen, the former West High and Marquette star, but the Chicago Bears grabbed him on the 19th round. Lis said he hopes to get Hermsen yet. Green Bay picked off seven players from the Big Ten, which was well scouted by Hearden, a coach at Wisconsin last year, and Klapstein...In the entire draft, the 12 clubs picked 56 Big Ten players - a percentage of 15.5, and 69 stars from midwestern schools, including four from Notre Dame and two from Marquette. Three of the Notre Damers went to Green Bay - Hornung, junior center Ed Sullivan and halfback Jim Morse. Packer pickers took it slow and easy during most of the draft. Since 20 players had disappeared (the Bays' first two choices went to Cleveland), the Bays hunted and deliberated as long as 10 minutes on the early picks. The first draftee, Nisby, was picked as a "good player - the best linemen on the west coast." A 235-pounder, Nisby will fit in at offensive guard or linebacker. Three on-the-spot switches were made. The first was second pick Frank Gilliam of Iowa, a 6-2, 185-pound end from Iowa, who was drafted to play defensive halfback. George Belotti, the USC tackle, picked third (No. 8), will be a contender for defensive tackle...The next three picks were two-way halfbacks, Ken Wineburg of TCU who has an excellent recommendation from Mike Michalske; Gustafson; and Jim Roseboro, a hard-nosed little guy from Ohio State. The first future picked was Sullivan, a 190-pounder who rates as a "great" linebacking prospect. The Bays turned the 12th round pick the New York Giants owed 'em for Jack Spinks into Glenn Bestor, the onetime Fox Valley Conference back from Fond du Lac. Bestor was a fullback at Wisconsin, but he was switched to defensive end immediately. Bestor, a strong, rugged athlete, stands 6-2 and packs 215 pounds. After nailing Morse, the Packers knocked off four linemen, including sophomore Ed Buckingham of Minnesota, a 250-pounder hailed by Bierman, and junior tackle Don Boudreaux of Houston, 220. The other linemen are Rudy Schoendorf, 245, tackle of Miami, and Pat Hinton, 230, guard from Louisiana Tech...Three of the last 12 picks are juniors, including Johnson, guard Dave Herbold of Minnesota and halfback Howard Dare of Maryland. Four of the remaining nine are defensive halfback or corner backer prospects - Credell Green, 200 pounds, of Washington; Ron Quillian, 205, of Tulane; John Symank, 180, of Florida; and Buddy Bass, 190, of Duke. Bass had starred as an end, but Blackbourn switched him to defensive halfback since he's a sound tackler and fast. The other five are linemen, including 205-pound guard Percy Oliver, 205, of Illinois who will work as a linebacker; 230-pound guard Ernie Danjean of Auburn; 240-pound tackle Chuck Mehrer of Missouri; 220-pound tackle Chuck Leyendecker of SMU; and 240pound tackle Martin Booher of Wisconsin. The Packers selected the only Badgers in the entire draft - Bestor and Booher. Roughly, the Packers picked eight cornerback prospects, and four linebackers to strengthen the shaky cornerback spots and offset the possible loss of Roger Zatkoff and Deral Teteak.
'57 DRAFT MAY'VE BEEN LAST UNDER SPLIT PLAN
FEB 1 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - This may be the last split draft as it's now carried on, three or four picks in November and the remainder in January. It's original purpose was to get the jump on the Canadians but that's backfiring and the clubs, at their business meeting starting today, may come up with something new. One plan has a secret draft without announcing any numerical order. Each club would merely announce a list of 30 players - in alphabetical order, and then let the Canadians guess. Oddly enough, the Canadians benefit by the present split in that they have been able to sign a number of players who were "unhappy" because they did not make the "big four" last November. Earl Klapstein, former Packer aide who covered the East-West game, recalled that "there was almost a social barrier between the boys who made the November draft and those who didn't" in the E-W game...Commissioner Bert Bell will receive a flat $40,000 salary for each 365-day period instead of the previous $30,000 and a bonus of $10,000. No official announcement was made, but it came out anyway. His contract has eight years to go...Every writer seems to be straining himself trying to make a trade for the simple reason that trades make for interesting writing. Packer Coach Liz Blackbourn and Lion Coach Buddy Parker has been quite buddy-buddy but, shucks, nobody will talk. And just for the fun of it, what Packer position is well stocked as it were? Offensive ends - of course, especially when Max McGee comes out about Oct. 1. And you'll never guess the position Detroit needs bolstering. Offensive end! And, come to think of it, the Packers could use some of those Lion defensive back, tackles, linebackers, etc....The Rams took this occasion to announce the signing of a peace pact among the owners who had been feuding for almost two years. Bell made the official announcement Thursday night, revealing that Dan Reeves as president and holder of half the club's stock will make decisions. In case of dispute, Bell will decide. A partnership lawsuit involving Reeves, Ed Pauley and Fred Levy has been withdrawn. The three major owners were here and Bell reported that they shook hands over the deal...George Preston Marshall, blunt-spoken owner of the Washington Redskins, was unperturbed by a picket line outside the Bellevue-Stratford Hotel, protesting his anti-players' union stand and failure to hire Negro players. "I've come from Washington where picket lines are not unusual. I have seen picket lines at the White House many times," Marshall boomed...Viewing the proceedings here for old-time's sake was two former Packer assistant coaches, Dick Plasman and Tarz Taylor. Plasman has a fine cemetery business going in Miami and has no intention of getting back into football. Taylor, now a salesman in Chicago who suffered two heart attacks recently, says he's feeling great...Packer tackle John Sandusky spoke to Blackbourn regarding his decision to take the Villanova line coaching job in the draft room yesterday. A little later Liz and Sandusky walked out of the room, prompting a scribe to crack: "Villanova is about to lose a line coach."...Most congratulated guy at the draft is Jim Lee Howell, coach of the championship Giants. Big Jim, of course, modestly attributes it all to luck.
SANDUSKY QUITS FOR COACHING JOB
FEB 1 (Green Bay) - John Sandusky of the Green Bay Packers, and a veteran tackle with seven seasons in the NFL, said Thursday he has accepted a job as line coach at Villanova for next season. The 33-year old offensive lineman was acquired by the Packers from the Cleveland Browns last season in exchange for their 5th draft choice. Sandusky was the No. 2 draft choice of the Browns in 1950. He is six-one and weighs 250 pounds.
BUFFALO BIDS FOR NFL FRANCHISE
FEB 1 (Philadelphia) - The NFL's annual meeting was told today that, if granted a franchise, the city of Buffalo, N.Y., would mean to professional football what Milwaukee meant to the National Baseball League. Patrick J. McGroder, Jr., chairman of the board of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium, estimated that Buffalo could sell, in its first season, at least 25,000 season tickets. The owners met in executive session today with the possibility of expanding the league to 14 teams, or a possible transfer of a present franchise, one of several subjects on the agenda.
PRO GRID OWNERS HEAR PLAYER DEMANDS TODAY
FEB 1 (Philadelphia) - The NFL, its player draft completed, moved into its midwinter business sessions today with the proposed program of the new players' organization, rule changes, expansion and schedule consideration on the agenda. The 12-member clubs drafted a total of 312 players Thursday, completing its selections started last November when 49 hopefuls were tapped for future play among the rugged pros. Commissioner Bert Bell planned to present the players' program, asking for a $5,000 salary minimum for drafted players and an injury clause, to the owners for consideration, and eight cities were hopeful that the league would expand to a 14-club circuit in 1958. A first day poll of the owners indicated six were willing to go along with the player requests. Los Angeles, Green Bay and San Francisco were non-committal, Cleveland withheld comment, and the Chicago Bears, whose players are not members, had nothing to say. George Preston Marshall, president of the Washington Redskins, opposed the players' group move because it "would be extremely difficult to have a player association in a contact sport like football...The rules which apply to baseball don't apply to us in any respect." The opening day, though dulled by the long draft routine, had its spirited moments, including the picketing of Marshall for the Redskins non-hiring of Negro players, and a salary boost for Bell by the owners. The commissioner's salary was raised to $40,000 annually, a $10,000 hike, plus an annual $10,000 turned into a trust fund as a pension for him. George Halas, owner of the Bears, took a pause in the meeting to lash back at Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick's criticism of the NFL drafting players made several days ago in Chicago. Frick said the draft hindered the players' opportunity to bargain. Halas said the draft, instituted in 1936, gave the players more opportunity than ever before as he told Frick "to stick to baseball." The Bears' owner said player salaries now are three to five times higher than they were before the league adopted the draft, and that they have every opportunity to negotiate with Canadian teams. Los Angeles, torn by front office bickering in a dispute and court suit involving President Dan Reeves and co-owners Edwin Pauley, Fred Levy and Hal Seeley, had its difficulties settled when they shook hands and agreed to future management of the club, with Bell appointed to step in as arbitrator in case of future disagreements. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), headed by John Young of the Red Roosters sports group of New York and Eugene Davidson of the Washington district of the association, threw up a picket line outside of the hotel criticizing Marshall and the Redskins for not hiring Negroes.
FARAH SUPPORTS PABST PLAN FOR STADIUM FUND
FEB 1 (Green Bay) - Farah Food, Inc., has seconded the motion of the Pabst Brewing Co., in raising funds to provide extra equipment for the new municipal stadium for the Packers. In a letter to Mayor Otto Rachals and the Green Bay City Council, Farah's has offered to contribute an extra center for each can or bottle of Pabst beer sold in its three stores. Last week Pabst Brewing Co. offered to contribute a cent for each can or bottle of Pabst sold in Brown County for the three month period starting Feb. 1. Farah's said it was making the offer "in cooperation with the aggressive spirit of our fellow citizens of Green Bay for the speedy construction of our new stadium." "The Green Bay Packers are big business," the letter concluded, "and give our city the glamour and dignity of a much larger city."
PROJECTED STADIUM MAKING PACKERS 'NEW' TEAM IN NFL
FEB 2 (Philadelphia-Green Bay Press-Gazette) - Green Bay is like a "new" team in the NFL. The reason, of course, is the new stadium. A large drawing of the planned structure was unveiled by Packer representatives at Friday's business meetings and the other club representatives were real pleased with the possibilities the larger capacity afford in the future. Commissioner Bert Bell voiced their feelings: "As you know we were happy when your city voted to build the stadium last spring and now that Green Bay is actually ready to build we are all confident of the Packers' future. All of us in the National League always have had all of the confidence in the world in Green Bay. The new stadium and your fans back up that confidence." Representing the Packers were President Russ Bogda, General Manager Verne Lewellen and Packer Atty. Fred Trowbridge...It was almost ironical that Buffalo's plea for a franchise was made with the Packer stadium as a backdrop. Buffalo Memorial Auditorium board chairman Patrick J. McGroder told the league that Buffalo civic stadium can seat 44,000 with temporary stands and that there is parking available for 8,000 cars. He said the NFL could count on an advance sale of 28,000 season tickets. McGroder emphasized he was not seeking a franchise for any particular group, but was merely reporting on the advantages Buffalo has to offer. Louisville, Seattle, Minneapolis, Miami, Houston, Denver and Kansas City also contacted the league for franchises but Buffalo was the only city that sent a representative. Bell said the league may vote to expand - at today's meeting; with the provision that the problem can be re-examined again at the 1958 annual meeting. Bell indicated he didn't think the time was ripe for expansion until every team is about to win at least four games a season...He said Friday that "difference between winning four and winning six is very slight and that winning seven is considered a successful season." The opening sessions Friday was rather quiet with little or no concrete action. A bit more excitement is expected today when the league takes up expansion, the players' union and possible a word from Bell on officiating. Sessions are expected to end tonight. Several suggested rules changes were voted down. They would have made it mandatory for team benches to be on opposite sides of the field and for a punt to be made within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage. The latter proposal was aimed at eliminating many fair catches by forcing quicker punts and by keeping more men on the line to afford protection for the punter...The league also ruled out use of any special equipment to get information on the field of play - "other than word of mouth." The motion was made by Brown Coach Paul Brown, who was among the first to install radio equipment last fall. Also out was a plan to add 25 feet to the goalposts, permitting officials to rule easier on field goals. Under a new rule, a team taking a timeout must take the full 60 seconds. Many times a team took a timeout merely to stop the clock and then would tell the official almost immediately that it was ready to go, cutting the timeout sometimes in half and putting the opponent at a disadvantage. "Frankly," Bell laughed as he announced the rules, "they can get a commercial into 60 seconds."...In other action, George Preston Marshall, noisy owner of the Washington Redskins, was officially recognized in a unanimously-passed resolution for his 25 years of service to pro football. The motion pointed out Marshall's "great asset to sports, with his honesty and integrity and perfect frankness in saying what he thinks." The resolution was introduced by Bell. Earlier in the meeting, Marshall had been the object of Negro pickets around the hotel, who claimed that Marshall was unfair for not drafting Negro players. Marshall didn't draft any Negroes and the pickets left after the draft. A New York spokesman for the pickets said that the group of pickets, called the Red Roosters Club, planned to organize a boycott of all Redskin games in every city that they play...While the coaches pulled out early Friday, the newspaper lads were still busy trying to make trades. The Associated Press got a report out of Detroit that the Lions are interested in Packer linebacker Roger Zatkoff. The Zatkoff thing is rather interesting in that announcement of his retirement was made shortly after the Lions had inquired about the possibility of trading for Roger. The Packers reportedly want two good veteran players for Roger - and no less. Maybe that's what Packer coach Liz Blackbourn and Lion coach Buddy Parker were talking about Thursday.
JOHNSON WOULD 'SURE LIKE TO GIVE IT A TRY' WITH PACKERS
FEB 2 (Green Bay) - "It's a great thrill and an honor for me. I'd sure like to give it a try." Those were the words uttered by 6-2, 250-pound Jerry Johnson as the St. Norbert College tackle heard he had been drafted in the 25th round by the Packers. Johnson's selection is rather unusual in that: (1) he's from Green Bay and (2) he's played his college football at St. Norbert, only a "stone's throw" from Packer headquarters. Jerry is the first Green Bayite selected by the Pack since 1950 when flashy Gene Evans, the former West High and University of Wisconsin star halfback, was picked in the 20th round. Evans never tried out. Johnson is the fourth St. Norbert player to be a pro draft choice and the second by the Packers. Another Knight tackle, Jerry Dufek, was a Bay selection in the 29th round in 1953. Dufek, however, has a bad knee and decided to pass up a crack at the play-for-pay ball to go into high school coaching. He's now an assistant to Bill Dessart at Preble High. End Pat Smithwick was drafted - and cut - by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1952 and in 1955 halfback Bob Hoerning was taken by the LA Rams. He is now serving with the U.S. Army. Knight coach Mel Nicks, upon hearing of Johnson's selection, had this to say: "If anyone of our boys can make it, Jerry sure can. He's big, fast, and a real leader out there on the field. A definite prospect. I think he'd be a real good middle guard on defense." The Packers, however, may have to wait awhile for his services. Because he transferred from Vanderbilt University after his freshman year, he lost some credit and, consequently, will be using the first semester of the next school year to complete his education. He indicated that he "definitely wants to use up that extra year of football eligibility," a fact which makes Nicks quite happy and a factor which could actually help the Packers because of the extra experience he could bring them. His leadership is readily evidenced by the fact that his teammates selected Johnson as their co-captain for next fall, a position he also held during the 1956 campaign which saw the Knights win eight of their nine games. In addition, Johnson is the cadet commander of the entire 250-man ROTC battalion at St. Norbert. His military obligations still confront him after he graduates. At the completion of the '56 campaign, Jerry was named to the Brooklyn Tablet's Catholic All-American first team. He also received honorable mention on the Tablet's '55 team and on the La Crosse Register's All-Midwest eleven of the past two seasons. Jerry is the son of Mrs. Margaret Johnson of 715 N. Ashland Ave.