Willie Davis (defensive end)

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Willie Davis
No. 87
Defensive end
Personal information
Date of birth: (1934-07-24) July 24, 1934 (age 79)
Place of birth: Lisbon, Louisiana
Career information
College: Grambling State
NFL Draft: 1956 / Round: 15 / Pick: 181
Debuted in 1958
Last played in 1969
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Sacks 100 (Min.)
INT 2
Games 162
Stats at NFL.com
Pro Football Hall of Fame

Willie D. Davis (born July 24, 1934, in Lisbon, Louisiana) is a former American football defensive end for the Cleveland Browns and the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. Davis grew up in rural Louisiana and graduated from Grambling State University. The Cleveland Browns drafted Davis in the 15th round in the 1956 NFL Draft as an offensive tackle. Davis joined the Browns Team, in 1958, did not play up to standard at offensive tackle, then, in 1960, he was traded to The Green Bay Packers, and GM/Head Coach Vince Lombardi noted Davis's speed and agility and tried him at defensive lineman. Thus began one of the greatest careers ever at that position.

Davis wore number 87 during his career with the Packers. For 10 seasons, Davis anchored the Packers' defensive line, playing 138 consecutive regular-season games, part of 162 consecutive regular-season games for his NFL career. Davis was member to all 5 of Lombardi's NFL title-winning teams and played in Super Bowls I and II.

Davis played in an era when neither tackles nor sacks were official statistics. However, John Turney, a member of the Professional Football Researchers Association, and a painstaking, highly respected researcher/statistician, reports that his extensive research indicates Davis had in excess of 100 sacks during his 10-year Green Bay career (1960–69), "possibly more than 120," including a minimum of 40 over the 1963-65 seasons alone.[1] Davis himself is quoted as saying, "I would think I would have to be the team's all-time leader in sacks. I played 10 years and I averaged in the 'teens' in sacks for those 10 years. I had 25 one season. (Paul) Hornung just reminded me of that the other day."[2] Davis earned All-Pro honors 5 times (1962, 64-67). Meanwhile he was voted to the Pro Bowl five times (1963–67).

Davis recovered 21 fumbles over his Packers career, which, more than three decades removed from his retirement, remains a team record. The Packers honored his retirement with a Willie Davis Day on December 21, 1969. Davis remains on Green Bay Packers Board of Directors.

In the early 1970s, Davis worked as a color commentator on NFL telecasts for NBC. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981. In 1986, Davis was named the Walter Camp Man of the Year. In 1987, he was given the Career Achievement Award from the NFL Alumni, and in 1988 he was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1988. In 1999, he was ranked number 69 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Football Players.

Davis is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity. He received his MBA from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in 1968. He is a member or former member of the boards of Alliance Bank, Dow Chemical (1988–2006), Johnson Controls (1991–2006), K-Mart, L.A. Gear, Manpower (2001-), Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (1999-), MGM Mirage, Rally's Inc., Sara Lee (1983-), Schlitz Brewing, and WICOR Inc. He has been president of All-Pro Broadcasting, operators of radio stations KCXX-FM, KATY-FM, WLDB-FM, WLUM-FM, and WZTI since 1976.

Davis' son is actor Duane Davis.

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