Photo: The Plain Dealer

NFL Hall of Famer and former Grambling football legend Willie Davis died Wednesday at the age of 85.

“It is with great sadness the entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Willie Davis,” Hall of Fame President & 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 an inspiration to future generations.”


Inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame in 1981 and the Black College Football Hall of Fame in 2011, Davis was a 15th round draft pick of the Cleveland Brown in 1956. He didn’t start his professional career until 1958 due to military service in the U.S. Army.

He was traded to the Green Bay Packers in 1960, where he solidified his career as a dominant defensive end wearing the number 87.

Throughout his career, Davis earned five All-Pro selections, five Pro Bowl honors, and played in and won the first two Super Bowl. Before the creation of the Super Bowl, Davis won five NFL championships with the Packers under the coaching of Vince Lombardi.

After he retired from the NFL in 1969, Davis continued his achievements in the business world. Earning an MBA in 1968 from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Davis served as a member of the board of well-known companies including Dow Chemical, MGM Resorts International, Schlitz Brewing, Sara Lee, American Express and Mattel.

He would later become president of All-Pro Broadcasting Inc., which operated a host of radio stations in Southern California and the Midwest.

Davis was born July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana.

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