Fuzzy Thurston

Last updated

Fuzzy Thurston
Fuzzy Thurston (1).jpg
Thurston's 1963 Topps trading card
No. 64, 63
Position: Offensive guard
Personal information
Born:(1933-12-29)December 29, 1933
Altoona, Wisconsin
Died:December 14, 2014(2014-12-14) (aged 80)
Green Bay, Wisconsin
Height:6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight:247 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school: Altoona (WI)
College: Valparaiso
NFL Draft: 1956  / Round:  5  / Pick: 54
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Games:116

Frederick Charles "Fuzzy" Thurston (December 29, 1933 – December 14, 2014) was an American football player who played offensive guard for the Baltimore Colts and the Green Bay Packers. [1] [2]

Contents

Early years

Born and raised in the small western Wisconsin town of Altoona, Thurston accepted a basketball scholarship to Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and didn't play collegiate football for the Crusaders until his junior season (1954). He played basketball because his high school didn't have a football team. [3] Thurston played junior varsity basketball as a 190-pound freshman at Valparaiso before gaining 40 pounds and joining the football team his sophomore year. [4] He led Valparaiso to an Indiana Collegiate Conference title and was twice selected All-American. Thurston was also named All-Conference for the 1954 and 1955 seasons, [5] while being named the conference's top lineman in 1955. [6] He was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the fifth round of the 1956 NFL Draft. [7]

Pro football

As the left guard, Thurston was a key member of the Packers' offensive line during the team's glory years under head coach Vince Lombardi, when they won five NFL championships and the first two Super Bowls. Paired with hall of famer Jerry Kramer at right guard, they led the vaunted Packers sweep running attack. Thurston was named to the 1961 and 1962 All-Pro teams. [8]

Prior to joining the Packers, Thurston played the 1958 season with the NFL champion Baltimore Colts. Thus, Thurston is one of only four players in pro football history to play on six NFL championship teams. He was inducted into the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in January 1975. [9]

In response to a sportswriter's question about how he prepared for the famous Ice Bowl game in 1967, when the gametime temperature was −13 °F (−25 °C) (with a wind chill well below that), Thurston responded that he drank "about ten vodkas" in order to stay warm. [10] He remained popular in Wisconsin after his playing days and could often be found at Fuzzy's, a bar he owned not far from Lambeau Field. [11]

Thurston was elected to the Indiana Football Hall of Fame in 1982, [12] and the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003. He was the first athlete ever to be voted in by the people of Wisconsin, even though the Hall had been founded in 1951. The Professional Football Researchers Association named Thurston to the PRFA Hall of Very Good Class of 2006. [13]

Death

After several years of declining health, Thurston died at age 80 in Green Bay, [14] battling Alzheimer's disease and cancer. [15]

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References

  1. Hendricks, Martin (December 16, 2014). "Packers teammates mourn Fuzzy Thurston". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved January 11, 2016.
  2. "Packers.com – Fred Thurston". Packers.com. Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  3. "Fuzzy Thurston dies at 80; member of title-winning Packers teams of 1960s," Los Angeles Times, Dec. 15, 2014
  4. "Fred "Fuzzy" Thurston," Official biography Green Bay Packers website
  5. "Inside Athletics - Hall of Fame - Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders". Archived from the original on December 17, 2014. Retrieved June 25, 2014.
  6. "THURSTON, FRED "FUZZY" | Indiana Football Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  7. "Fuzzy Thurston Statistics". Pro Football Reference. Archived from the original on April 20, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  8. Christl, Cliff (July 4, 2019). "Fuzzy Thurston a 'guardian angel' on famous power sweep". Green Bay Packers, Inc. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  9. "Fred Thurston". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 22, 2014. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  10. Ward, Doug. "Lambeau or Bust: NFL Experience Incomplete Without a Trip to Green Bay". ESPN.com. Archived from the original on September 30, 2009. Retrieved February 1, 2010.
  11. "Former Green Bay Packers G Fuzzy Thurston's Super Bowl II ring being sold to settle $1.7M tax debt". Green Bay Gazette. June 24, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2011.[ permanent dead link ]
  12. "THURSTON, FRED "FUZZY" | Indiana Football Hall of Fame". Archived from the original on July 27, 2018. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  13. "Hall of Very Good Class of 2006". Archived from the original on January 18, 2017. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  14. Megan Pospychala. "Packers legend 'Fuzzy' Thurston dies Archived December 14, 2014, at the Wayback Machine ", Fox 6 News, December 14, 2014.
  15. "Archived copy". The New York Times . Archived from the original on July 7, 2018. Retrieved March 1, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)