William Clarke Hinkle (April 10, 1909 – November 9, 1988) was a professional American football player for the Green Bay Packers. Wearing # 30, he played Tailback and Linebacker from 1932 to 1941.
At the time of his retirement, he was the NFL’s all time leading rusher. At 5’ 11”, Hinkle was not physically large, but he is considered to be one of the most physical players of the 1930s. He was a workhorse running back and a savage blocker. As a linebacker, he was a tremendous blitzer and intimidating tackler.
While playing in Bucknell University, Hinkle led the team to an undefeated season in 1931. Hinkle's coach at Bucknell, Carl Snavely, called him: "Without a doubt, the greatest defensive back I have ever seen or coached." Those words were uttered by a man who had seen and coached many of the nation's best.
When Hinkle left Bucknell University, he initially considered signing with the New York Giants, and was invited to attend a game against the Green Bay Packers. Hinkle was so impressed with the Packers' performance, however, that he chose to sign with Green Bay instead, playing mainly fullback on offense. In the early years of Hinkle's career, he was compared to his counterpart on the rival Chicago Bears, Bronko Nagurski as being the NFL's two best fullbacks. Hinkle himself acknowledged that Nagurski was a more powerful runner than he was. However, there is a story that Hinkle once hit Nagurski so hard that Nagurski suffered two cracked ribs and a broken nose. Hinkle played for the Packers for his entire ten-year career, during which he was the Packers' top runner. Combined with the passing attack that featured Don Hutson, Hinkle helped the Packers to NFL titles in 1936 and 1939. When he retired, Hinkle was the NFL all-time leading rusher with 3850 career yards. He surpassed the old record of 3511 yards held by Cliff Battles.