Monday, June 28, 2010

Conferring with The Coach

We go back to the early 1960’s today to see Packers’ defensive back John Symank talking with head coach Vince Lombardi on the sideline during a home game in either 1961 or ’62. Symank came to Green Bay in the pre-Lombardi days from the University of Florida. He was discovered by the legendary Packers’ scout Jack Vainisi, and the team selected Symank in the twenty-third round (268th pick overall) of the 1957 NFL Draft. He was fortunate to play in three N.F.L. title games with Green Bay and was on the winning side in two of them — in his final two seasons with the club.

From his official website, we take this text:

“Perhaps Vince Lombardi described John Symank best in his 1963 book Run To Daylight. “He is only 5-11 and at 180 pounds he is the lightest man on this squad. Compared with the others he looks like a baseball infielder, but he is a football player. The Packers drafted him out of the University of Florida in 1957 and that year he was fourth in the league in interceptions. Last year he had the highest interception-return yardage and best kickoff-return average on this club… There is no actor in Symank. He is serious and intense, and in a game he would just as soon break your leg as not. He has made it in this league because he gets a great deal more out of himself than his ability and size justify, and I wish I could say that about all the rest of them. Many of them will rise for one game or two, but John gets the maximum out of himself in every game, and if I had thirty-five others like him I would have a far better team than I have.”

In 1963 Symank was traded along with Bill Quinlan to the New York Giants. Before Symank ever wore a Giants uniform, he was traded again to the Cardinals where he played his final season under a 9-5 Wally Lemm.

If you’d like to learn more about him, go to his website through the link above. There are a lot of photos from his Packer days, and more about his career in football after his playing days were over.