Tony Canadeo

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Tony Canadeo
Canadeo packers.jpg
c. 1949
No. 3
Position: Halfback/Quarterback
Personal information
Date of birth: (1919-05-05)May 5, 1919
Place of birth: Chicago, Illinois
Date of death: November 29, 2003(2003-11-29) (aged 84)
Place of death: Green Bay, Wisconsin
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Weight: 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school: Chicago (IL) Steinmetz
College: Gonzaga
NFL draft: 1941 / Round: 9 / Pick: 77
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards: 4,197
Average: 4.1
Total TDs: 31
Stats at
Canadeo's number was retired by the Packers in 1952

Anthony Robert "Tony" Canadeo (May 5, 1919 – November 29, 2003) was a professional football player, a halfback and quarterback for the NFL's Green Bay Packers from 1941 to 1952, having missed the 1945 season while serving in the U.S. Army during World War II.[2][3]

Early years[edit]

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, Canadeo attended Charles P. Steinmetz Academic Centre, formerly known as Steinmetz High School, a public four-year high school located in Chicago's Belmont Cragin neighborhood. It is a part of the Chicago Public Schools District 299 and was named for the handicapped German-American mathematician and electrical engineer Charles Proteus Steinmetz (1865–1923).

Canadeo played college football at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where he was first known as the "Gray Ghost of Gonzaga,"[4][5] due to his prematurely graying hair. The university dropped the football program in 1941, so he was the last Zag to play pro football. He also boxed for the Bulldogs during his senior year,[6] and was named team captain.[4][7]

Pro career[edit]

Canadeo was selected by the Packers in the ninth round (77th overall) of the 1941 NFL draft. During the war, he first served in the U.S. Navy,[8] then joined the U.S. Army and missed most of the 1944 season and all of 1945; he returned in 1946 and became Green Bay's primary ball carrier.[3] Canadeo was the first Packer to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and the third player ever in the NFL to accomplish this feat. He rushed for 1,052 yards in 1949, but the Packers struggled to a 2–10 (.167) record. In addition to his accomplishments as a running back, Canadeo also recorded nine career interceptions on defense and served as the team's punter.

Canadeo is one of only six Green Bay Packers to have his number retired by the team. His number (3) was retired immediately in 1952, preceded by Don Hutson (14) in 1951, and followed by Bart Starr (15) in 1973, Ray Nitschke (66) in 1983, Reggie White (92) in 2005, and Brett Favre (4) in 2015. Canadeo was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1973.

After football[edit]

After his playing career, Canadeo continued his association with the Packers as a television analyst and member of the organization's executive committee. He remained listed as one of the directors emeritus.[9]

He played a small part in helping Jack Vainisi reassure Vince Lombardi in 1959 that the transition from New York City, where Lombardi served as an assistant coach for the New York Giants, to Green Bay would be comfortable for his family.

Canadeo was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974, the first from Gonzaga, edging Ray Flaherty by two years.[10] Two years before his induction in Canton, Canadeo had received a kidney transplant, donated by his son Robert.[11] Canadeo died in Green Bay in 2003 at the age of 84.[3][9][12]


  1. ^ "Don Hutson, Canadeo on pro all-star squad". Milwaukee Journal. December 16, 1943. p. 8, part 2. 
  2. ^ "Tony Canadeo takes his army oath here". Milwaukee Journal. December 31, 1943. p. 2, part 2. 
  3. ^ a b c Silverstein, Tom (November 30, 2003). "Running back stuck with Pack". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 1A. 
  4. ^ a b "Canadeo shows boxing promise". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 14, 1941. p. 12. 
  5. ^ Grody, Ray (February 5, 1946). "4 Packers may bolt to All-America". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 3, part 2. 
  6. ^ "Canadeo makes ring debut soon; to captain Bulldogs". Spokane Daily Chronicle. February 5, 1941. p. 15. 
  7. ^ "Gonzaga opens boxing season December 12". Spokane Daily Chronicle. December 5, 1941. p. 11. 
  8. ^ "Tony Canadeo joins Packers". Milwaukee Journal. August 22, 1943. p. 5, part 2. 
  9. ^ a b "Pro Football Hall of Famer Tony Canadeo dead at 84". Sports Associated Press. November 30, 2003. Retrieved February 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ Blanchette, John (December 5, 2003). "Canadeo, Deeter leave void in history". Spokesman-Review. p. C1. 
  11. ^ "Canadeo good after transplant". Milwaukee Journal. August 2, 1972. p. 17, part 2. 
  12. ^ Christl, Cliff (December 4, 2003). "Canadeo is remembered as a star on, off field". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. p. 6C. 

External links[edit]