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Jerry Kramer


Official Website of

Jerry Kramer

Green Bay Packers [1958 - 1968]

 

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Jerry Kramer


Official Website of

Jerry Kramer

Green Bay Packers [1958 - 1968]

 

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Jerry Kramer • Illustration from Rookie Year Topps Card • 1959

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Intro


Biography

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Intro


Biography

Jerry Kramer (born January 23, 1936, in Jordan, Montana) is a former professional football player, author and sports commentator, best remembered for his 11-year NFL career with the Green Bay Packers as an offensive lineman. 

As a 6'3", 250 pound right guard, Kramer was an integral part of the famous "Packer Sweep", a signature play in which both guards rapidly pull out from their normal positions and lead block for the running back going around the end. Kramer was an All-Pro five times, and a member of the NFL's 50th anniversary team in 1969, but surprisingly, even after appearing on the list of finalists ten times since becoming eligible, has not been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was rated #1 in NFL Network's Top 10 list of players not in the Hall of Fame (by Sporting News and The Atlantic).

 
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Early Years


The early years

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Early Years


The early years

Born in eastern Montana, Jerry Kramer moved with his family from northern Utah to northern Idaho when he was in the fourth grade, settling in Sandpoint. After graduating from Sandpoint High School in 1954,[2] he accepted a football scholarship to the University of Idaho Vandals to play for new coach Skip Stahley. In that era, Idaho was a member of the Pacific Coast Conference, the forerunner of the Pac-10.

Kramer was a standout player for the Vandals, along with teammate (and roommate) Wayne Walker of Boise, a future All-Pro linebacker with the Detroit Lions. Both played in the East-West Shrine Game and the College All-Star Game that summer, in which they defeated the defending NFL champion Lions. Kramer would have his uniform number 64 retired by the university.

Later, Jerry was enshrined in the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame and is also Idaho's first ever football All-American.

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NFL Career


NFL Career

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NFL Career


NFL Career

Kramer was the 39th player selected in the 1958 NFL Draft, taken in the fourth round by the Green Bay Packers. Two Hall-of-Famers for the Packers were taken in this draft: fullback Jim Taylor of LSU in the second round (15th overall), and linebacker Ray Nitschke of Illinois in the third round (36th overall). Kramer played every game in his rookie season of 1958 but the Packers finished with the worst record (1-10-1) in the 12-team league. In January 1959, the Packers hired a new head coach, Vince Lombardi, the offensive coach of the New York Giants.

With Kramer playing right guard, the Packers won five NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls. Kramer also served as the team's place kicker in 1962, 1963, and part of 1968. As a kicker, he kicked 29 field goals, 90 extra points, for a total of 177 points. He also kicked 3 field goals and 1 extra point in the Packers 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL title game. In college at Idaho, he was also a kicker, with Wayne Walker as his long snapper.

During his career, Kramer was often injured. Among these were surgery to remove sizable wood fragments embedded in his abdomen from a teenage accident, and a badly injured ankle suffered in 1961. In all, Kramer played in 129 regular season games; he also had 22 surgeries in 11 seasons, including a colostomy, which he described as "a horror movie that hasn't been made yet."[citation needed] Despite these setbacks, Kramer was selected as an All-Pro five times (1960, 1962, 1963, 1966, and 1967). He was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993. He is a member of the NFL's 50th Anniversary All-Time team, and the only member of that team not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Author


Author

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Author


Author

In his penultimate season of 1967, Kramer collaborated with Dick Schaap on his first book, the best-selling Instant Replay, a diary of the season which chronicled the life of a professional football player offensive lineman. The book climaxed with Kramer's lead block in front of Bart Starr to win the "Ice Bowl" championship game. Kramer and Schaap would write two more books together. Kramer played one more year, under new head coach Phil Bengston in 1968. After that season, which saw the aging Packers fall to a losing record of 6-7-1, Kramer wrote a second book, Farewell to Football. After retiring, Kramer briefly worked as a color commentator on CBS National Football League telecasts.

In 1985, Kramer wrote Distant Replay, which updated the whereabouts of the members of the Packers' Super Bowl I championship team following a team reunion at Lambeau Field during the 1984 season.

Jerry Kramer is now living in the town of Eagle, near Boise in southwestern Idaho with his second wife, Wink, whom he married after retiring from the NFL. In October 2005, he released Inside the Locker Room a CD set that includes Vince Lombardi’s final locker room address as the head coach of the Green Bay Packers, immediately after Super Bowl II. In September 2006, Kramer re-released his 1968 best seller, Instant Replay.

Kramer has 6 children (Tony, Diana, Daniel, Alicia, Matt and Jordan) and 5 grandchildren (Heidi, Stephanie, Mariah, Myles, and Charles). His youngest sons Matt and Jordan also played college football at Idaho. Jordan, named in honor of the small town in Montana, where Jerry was born, played several seasons in the NFL as a linebacker, initially with the Tennessee Titans in 2003, moving to the Atlanta Falcons in 2005.