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.
This article will examine numbers 81-85. You can find 1-5 here, 6-10 here, 11-15 here, 16-20 here, 21-25 here, 26-30 here, 31-35 here, 36-40 here, 41-45 here, 46-50 here, 51-55 here, 56-60 here, 61-65 here 66-70 here, 71-75 here and 76-80 here.
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.
81. Rich McGeorge TE (1970-78)
The Packers selected Rich McGeorge in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft out of Elon. McGeorge caught two passes as a rookie and both went for touchdowns. He established himself as the team’s starting tight end in his second campaign and caught four touchdown passes among his 27 total catches.
McGeorge was injured in Week 2 of the Packers division-winning season of 1972 but returned in 1973 and was named the Packers offensive player of the year.
Statistically, McGeorge’s best season came in 1975 when he caught 32 passes for 458 yards and a touchdown. His only score was the game-winning touchdown against the Cowboys in Week 5 that gave Bart Starr his first win as a head coach.
During his tenure with the Packers, Green Bay’s passing offense was never a strong point. McGeorge was always a good blocker and a reliable receiver even though the Packers rarely threw the football much during his tenure.
McGeorge retired after the 1978 season and later became an assistant coach with the Dolphins and in the USFL and XFL.
Other prominent Packers players to wear 81 include tight end Marv Fleming (1963-69) who played on Vince Lombardi’s final three championship teams and played in five of the first eight Super Bowls, reliable wide receiver Perry Kemp (1988-91), TE Andrew Quarless (2010-15) who was on the Packers Super Bowl LXV winning team and Super Bowl XXXI MVP, Desmond Howard (1996) who was an elite return specialist for the Packers.
82. Paul Coffman TE (1978-85)
The Packers signed Paul Coffman as an undrafted free agent in 1978. He took over the as the team’s starting tight end in 1979 and set a franchise record for catches by a tight end with 56.
Coffman was a good blocker and had excellent hands. He earned Pro Bowl honors for three straight seasons from 1982-1984. Coffman teamed with wide receivers James Lofton and John Jefferson to give the Packers one of the most dangerous receiving corps in the league.
Coffman’s best season came in 1983 when he caught 54 passes for 814 yards and 11 touchdowns. He had a career-high nine catches for 109 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 of the 1980 season, a game that ended in a 14-14 tie with Tampa Bay. He also had six catches for 124 yards and a score in the Packers famous 48-47 win over the Redskins on Monday Night Football in 1983.
After spending eight seasons with the Pack, Coffman finished his career with the Chiefs and Vikings. His son, Chase, later played for the Colts.
Coffman was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1994.
Other prominent Packers to wear 82 include defensive lineman Lionel Aldridge (1963-71) who played on Lombardi’s final three championship teams and played in the first two Super Bowls.
83. Clarence Williams DE (1970-77)
The Packers acquired Clarence Williams from the Cowboys in the deal that sent Herb Adderley to the Dallas in 1970. Williams quickly earned a starting job with the Packers at defensive end, a position he held for more than seven seasons.
Nicknamed “Big Cat” for his size and quickness, Williams led the team in sacks in 1972 and 1974. He was a durable player, playing in 107 consecutive games for the Pack.
Williams came up big for the Packers in their 1972 division title season. He scored a touchdown on a 21-yard fumble recovery in the Packers 20-17 win over the Bears in Week 6. Then, he sacked Hall of Famer Fran Tarkenton three times in the Packers Week 13, division clinching 23-7 win over the Vikings on a brutally cold day in Minnesota.
Williams moved to defensive tackle in 1977 and was released by the Packers before the 1978 season.
“The Big Cat” died on May 8, 2017, at the age of 70.
Other prominent Packers to wear 83 include wide receiver John Jefferson (1981-84) who teamed with James Lofton to give the Packers an outstanding pair of receivers in the early-to-mid 80s.
84. Sterling Sharpe WR (1988-94)
Wide receiver Sterling Sharpe was on his way to a Hall of Fame career before a neck injury forced him to retire at the age of 29. But during his career, he was one of the most dominant receivers in the game.
The Packers selected Sharpe in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft out of South Carolina. By his second NFL season, he already led the league in catches with 90 and had 12 touchdown passes as the Pack surprised everybody by finishing 10-6.
Sharpe led the NFL in receiving three times during his seven year NFL career. He set a league record by making 108 catches in 1992 and then broke it a year later when he had 112 receptions.
Early in his career, Brett Favre knew he could always count of finding Sharpe open when he was under pressure.
One of Sharpe’s best games came in the 1993 playoffs against the Lions. Sharpe caught five passes for 101 yards and three touchdowns including the game-winning 40-yard catch in the final minute that gave the Pack a 28-24 victory. Sharpe did all that despite playing with a painful injury.
Sharpe’s career was just reaching its apex in 1994. He caught a league-leading 18 touchdown passes before a neck injury forced him into early retirement.
In seven seasons with the Packers, Sharpe earned five Pro Bowl berths and was named All Pro three times.
After football, Sharpe became a broadcaster for NFL Network. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 2002.
Other prominent Packers to wear 84 include tight end and later public address announcer Gary Knafelc, (1954-62), wide receiver Carroll Dale (1965-72), speedy wide receiver and return specialist Steve Odom (1974-79) and wide receivers Bill Schroeder (1997-2001) and Javon Walker WR (2002-05).
85. Greg Jennings WR (2006-12)
The Packers drafted Greg Jennings in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. Jennings quickly became a favorite target of Brett Favre and later Aaron Rodgers. By his second season, he caught 12 touchdown passes.
Jennings enjoyed his most productive season in 2010, the year the Packers won Super Bowl XLV. He made the Pro Bowl after catching 76 passes for 1,265 yards and a dozen touchdowns. It was the first of back-to-back Pro Bowl appearances for the Western Michigan alum.
In Super Bowl XLV, Jennings caught two touchdown passes to help the Packers to a 31-25 win over the Steelers. Overall, Jennings caught 50 passes in 10 playoff games for the Packers and scored six touchdowns.
Jennings was a part of history when he caught Brett Favre’s 421st career touchdown pass in 2007 which broke Dan Marino’s all-time career record.
In seven seasons with the Packers, Jennings caught 425 passes for 6,537 yards and 53 touchdowns. He finished his career with the Vikings and Dolphins, retiring after the 2015 season.
Other prominent Packers to wear 85 include wide receiver Max McGee (1954, 1957-67) who scored the first touchdown in Super Bowl history and later went on to have a lengthy career as the Packers radio commentator, and speedy receiver Phil Epps (1982-88).
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