Monday, May 30, 2011
Mixing the Military and the N.F.L.
In a scene that no N.F.L. coach today has to deal with, coach Vince Lombardi is pictured welcoming back three of his star players whose careers were interrupted to serve in the military. From left to right, WR Boyd Dowler, RB Paul Hornung, and LB Ray Nitschke are back to participate in training camp on July 25, 1962. Young athletes of military eligibility were not excused just because they were professional football players. Most famously, Hornung was called to active duty during the 1961 season but was able to get weekend passes to play on Sundays. Lombardi was a friend of President John F. Kennedy, and it was arranged for a pass so Hornung could play in the N.F.L. championship game against the New York Giants. Just another example of how much times have changed.