He lives about 20 miles from Canton, but former Packers linebacker Dave Robinson could have sprinted there today when he learned that he had been named by the Pro Football Hall of Fame Seniors Committee as a finalist for election into the Hall of Fame with the class of 2013.
Robinson was at his home in Akron, Ohio – “Cleveland Browns country” as he put it – when he was told he and longtime defensive tackle Curley Culp will join 15 yet to be named modern-era candidates on the list of finalists from which the Class of 2013 will be chosen. His phone has been ringing since.
“Everyone has called me, both my former teammates and opponents,” Robinson said. “It means a lot when the guys you played against call to congratulate you. Those are the guys whose respect you tried to earn. I’m really excited. This is like a dream come true, even if I am just starting the 100-yard dash with this. At least I’m getting the first step out of the way.”
Robinson, a three-time All-Pro who was named by the Hall of Fame to the All-Decade team for the 1960s, will have to wait to find out his fate. The Hall of Fame selection meeting will be held on Feb. 2, 2013, the day before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
“I’m going to be sweating it out, but I’ve waited a long time, and they say good things come to those who wait,” Robinson said. “It would mean an awful lot to me. I have my name in the barrel, so it’s good to be in the drawing. I won’t be able to relax until February.”
If Robinson is elected, it would be a remarkable accomplishment for the Packers defenses of the 1960s. Green Bay defenders already in the Hall of Fame from that era include middle linebacker Ray Nitschke, defensive end Willie Davis, cornerback Herb Adderley, safety Willie Wood and defensive tackle Henry Jordan. Robinson, Davis and Adderley created a formidable left side on their own.
“I talked to Herb today, and he said it’s the greatest left side ever in football and that I would be the missing piece,” Robinson said. “With Ray in the middle, we had him half the time. Only the Packers could do that.”
Relishing the achievement was part of the Robinson’s emotion today, as was some time for reflection.
“So many people say I played for the greatest fans for the world in Green Bay, that it’s the best organization in football,” he said. “It was a great honor to play there. I’d come back and play today for the same crummy salary I made in 1963. I love the game that much. Every kid should play one season in Green Bay, just to see what it’s all about.”
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