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Green Bay Packers football player Willie Wood

Willie Wood (1936–2020), legendary Packers defensive back

by Kirk Fox

Willie Wood was a legendary Hall of Fame defensive back for the Green Bay Packers. Wood was one of the best defensive backs in NFL history, grabbing 48 interceptions during his career, with a reputation a tough hitter. He had a memorable interception in Super Bowl I when the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs. He was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and a member of the Hall of Fame. Wood went into coaching and was the first black coach in professional football when he coached the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League in 1975.  

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Died: Monday, February 3, 2020. (Who else died on February 3?)  


Details of death: Died at the age of 83 from dementia.

Is there someone you miss whose memory should be honored? Here are some ways. 

Wood on his NFL success: “Determination probably was my trademark.” “I was talented but so were a lot of people. I’d like people to tell you I was the toughest guy they ever played against.” – according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel 

What they said about him: The Green Bay Packers Family lost a legend today with the passing of Willie Wood.” “Willie’s success story, rising from an undrafted rookie free agent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is an inspiration to generations of football fans. While his health challenges kept him from returning to Lambeau Field in recent years, his alumni weekend visits were cherished by both Willie and our fans. We extend our deepest condolences to Willie’s family and friends.” – Packers President Mark Murphy 

Full obituary: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel  

Related lives: 

Bart Starr (1934 – 2019), Packers legendary quarterback

Forrest Gregg (1933 – 2019), Packers Hall of Fame offensive lineman

Super Bowl Legends photo gallery 

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