This the next in my continuing series of articles of the best Green Bay Packers players of all-time by jersey number. This includes players from all 101 years of Packers football. Over the course of the franchise’s history, some of the greatest players in NFL history have suited up for the Packers and made their mark on the team and the league.
Keep in mind the players are listed by how they performed for the Packers only. Many players wore more than one number during their career. On this list, they are considered primarily for how long they wore each specific number and what they did while they wore it.
When possible, other great players who wore each number will get honorable mention. Feel free to comment and say who you feel belongs on this list.
I will release more articles in this series throughout the offseason.
51. Jim Ringo C (1953-63)
The Packers selected Jim Ringo in the seventh round of the 1953 NFL Draft. The former Syracuse star made an immediate impact on the Packers despite the team’s poor performance throughout his first six years with the franchise.
Ringo weighed only 230 pounds, but he quickly became one of the game’s top centers. He was named to the Pro Bowl in each of his final seven seasons with the Packers (1957-1963) and was All-Pro six of those seasons.
Ringo was quick for an offensive lineman and was the perfect center to run Lombardi’s power sweep. He was also a heady player who read defenses well and made adjustments on the move. He played on Lombardi’s first two championship teams in 1961 and 1962.
The Packers traded Ringo to the Eagles after the 1963 season. The famous story goes that Ringo went to meet with Lombardi to negotiate his new contract and asked Lombardi to speak to his agent. Lombardi had always negotiated with the players directly and came back a few minutes later and told Ringo to have his agent call the Eagles because he had been traded to there. Most people say this story is more myth than fact or at least severely embellished.
Ringo continued to shine with the Eagles where he was named to three more Pro Bowls before retiring after the 1967 season.
After retirement, Ringo went into coaching. He was an assistant for five different teams and served as head coach of the Buffalo Bills in 1976 and 1977.
Ringo was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1981. He died at the age of 76 on November 19, 2007.
Other notable Packers to wear number 51 include Irv Comp who was a big part of the Packers 1944 championship team (1943-49) and LB Brian Williams (1995-2000) who started for the Packers team that won Super Bowl XXXI and intercepted Drew Bledsoe in the Super Bowl game.
52. Clay Matthews LB (2009-18)
Clay Matthews was a third-generation NFL player with his grandfather and father both having played in the NFL. His uncle Bruce Matthews is also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
The Packers selected Matthews in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft and the former USC star made the Pro Bowl as a rookie after making 10 sacks, recovering three fumbles and 17 tackles for loss.
Matthews made the Pro Bowl six times with the Packers between 2009 and 2015. He also showed his unselfishness by shifting to inside linebacker when injuries and a lack of depth hurt the Packers at that position in 2014 and 2015.
Matthews made a key play in the Packers Super Bowl XLV victory, forcing a fumble in the fourth quarter that helped the Packers cement their victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“The Claymaker” is the Packers official all-time sacks leader with 83.5 in 10 seasons. He was released by the Packers after the 2018 season and signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams.
Other prominent Packers to wear 52 include center Frank Winters (1992-2002) who anchored the offensive line for a decade including the Super Bowl XXXI winning team and ILB George Cumby (1980-85), a former first-round pick out of Oklahoma.
53. Fred Carr LB (1968-77)
The Packers grabbed fast Fred Carr in the first round of the 1968 NFL Draft, the year that Lombardi served as the team’s GM after stepping down as coach.
The former UTEP star used his cat-like quickness to shut down opposing ball carriers. He was equally adept at stopping the run and playing the pass and made some hard hits in the open field.
Carr was named to three Pro Bowls playing for the Packers although the Packers had only one winning season after he became a full-time starter in 1970.
Carr was a big part of the Packers division winning season in 1972. The defense and running game were the keys to that team’s 10-4 record and the Packers only division title in the 70s.
Carr retired before the start of the 1978 season. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1983. He passed away on February 19, 2018, at the age of 71.
Other prominent Packers to wear 53 include ILB George Koonce (1992-99) who was a key contributor to the Packers two Super Bowl teams of the 90s, OLB Mike Douglass OLB (1979-85), a big play linebacker under Bart Starr in the early 80s and edge rusher Nick Perry (2012-18), a former first rounder from USC.
54. Larry McCarren C (1973-1984)
The Packers selected center Larry McCarren in the 12th round of the 1973 NFL Draft. Despite weighing only 246 pounds, he developed into a quality NFL center due to his intelligent play, quickness and fine technique.
McCarren was starting by his second season. He was a tough player, starting 162 consecutive games. He even played the season opener in 1980 one week after undergoing surgery for a hernia. His toughness and gutsy style of play earned him the nickname “The Rock.”
In the early 80s, the Packers had one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL and McCarren was the leader of the offensive line on those teams. He was named to the Pro Bowl after the 1982 and 1983 seasons.
McCarren retired after the 1984 season. He later turned to sportscasting and presently works for the Packers organization doing color on their radio broadcasts and reporting for the team’s official Web site.
He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1992.
Other prominent Packers to wear 54 include Larry Craig (1939-49) who made three Pro Bowls while playing on two championship teams for the Packers in 1939 and 1944.
55. Bernardo Harris LB (1996-2001)
The Packers signed Bernardo Harris as an undrafted free agent in 1995. He was a key special teams contributor during the 1996 Super Bowl run and became a starter the following season when he made a career-high 113 total tackles.
Harris was a good hitter in the middle of the defense. He started for five seasons with the Packers and sacked Steve Young in the 1997 NFC Championship Game.
In the 1998 playoffs, Harris was one of the players who hit San Francisco receiver Jerry Rice and forced him to fumble in the final minute. Unfortunately, the officials incorrectly ruled Rice down by contact and the 49ers were able to continue the winning drive.
Harris played one season for the Baltimore Ravens in 2002 before retiring.
Other prominent Packers to wear 55 include tough ILBs Randy Scott ILB (1981-86) and Desmond Bishop (2007-11).
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