Willie Davis, a Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman who helped the Green Bay Packers win each of the first two Super Bowls, has died. He was 85.
The Packers confirmed Davis’ death to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Wednesday, as did his former teammate and fellow hall member, Dave Robinson.
Davis died in a Santa Monica, California hospital. His wife, Carol, told the Packers her husband had been hospitalized for about a month with kidney failure and passed away peacefully.
“The Green Bay Packers family was saddened today to learn about the passing of Willie Davis,” said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. “One of the great defensive players of his era, Willie was a significant contributor to the Packers’ five NFL championship teams during the 1960s.
“I enjoyed getting to know Willie and his wife, Carol, especially when he served as our honorary captain for the 2010 NFC championship game and Super Bowl 45, and again for the 2014 NFC championship game. He also was a great role model for our players, having gone on to a very successful career after football and serving on the Packers Board of Directors.”
A 15th-round draft pick from Grambling, Davis began his NFL career by playing both offense and defense for the Cleveland Browns in 1958 and ’59. He had his greatest success after getting traded to the Packers.
He remained with the Packers until finishing his NFL career in 1969 as a five-time All-Pro. Although tackles and sacks weren’t measured at the time Davis played, his 22 career fumble recoveries showcased his dominance and big-play ability.
He was voted to the NFL’s all-decade team for the 1960s and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1981.