The NFL community has lost a legend.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Davis died Wednesday, the Hall of Fame announced. He was 85.
"It is with great sadness the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Willie Davis," Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. "Willie’s extraordinary athleticism was an undeniable factor in Green Bay’s winning tradition of the 1960s under Coach Lombardi. He helped the Packers through an unprecedented championship run and to two Super Bowl victories. Willie was a man of true character on and off the field. The Hall of Fame will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration to future generations."
Davis’ football career began under legendary coach Eddie Robinson at Grambling State University, from which he was selected by the Cleveland Browns in the 15th round of the 1956 draft. He spent his first two years of his pro career serving his country in the Army before beginning his NFL journey in 1958. Davis was traded to the Green Bay Packers in 1960, where he flourished as a defensive end under Vince Lombardi.
Davis earned five All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl honors in his decade spent in Green Bay, where he also played in and won the first two Super Bowls. Prior to the Super Bowl era, Davis also won five NFL championships (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966, 1967) as part of Lombardi’s fantastic Packers squads.
"The Green Bay Packers Family was saddened today to learn about the passing of Willie Davis," Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "One of the great defensive players of his era, Willie was a significant contributor to the Packers’ five NFL championship teams during the 1960s."
He retired after the 1969 season and went on to open a distillery with his brother before eventually using his masters in business administration to serve on the boards of Dow Chemical, MGM Resorts International, Schlitz Brewing, Sara Lee, American Express, Mattel and of course, the Green Bay Packers, among others.
"I am proud of my achievements," Davis told Investors Business Daily in 2017, "but I am even more proud of the work I have done to earn them."
Davis was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981, and was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team from the 1960s and Walter Camp Man of the Year in 1986.
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