Packers Hall of Famer Jim Taylor Dies at 83


Hall of Fame fullback Jim Taylor, who won four NFL championships with the Green Bay Packers, died Saturday at the age of 83.

“The Green Bay Packers family was saddened to learn of Jim Taylor’s passing this morning,” said Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy. “He was a gritty, classic player on the Lombardi teams and a key figure of those great championship runs. One of the best runners of his era, he later was beloved by multiple generations of Packers fans. He returned many times to Lambeau Field with his fellow alumni. Jim always looked like he could still play. Our deepest condolences go out to his wife, Helen, and their family and friends.”

Taylor, who was born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and attended LSU, died at a hospital in his hometown.

Taylor played with the Packers from 1958-66 and for most of that time he shared the backfield with fellow Hall of Famers Bart Starr and Paul Hornung.

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“That son-of-a-gun is the toughest son-of-a-gun in the league,” backfield mate Paul Hornung once said of Taylor. “I’ve seen him run over guys 30 or 40 pounds bigger than he is like that (snap of a finger). Jimmy Brown may be the best all-around athlete I’ve seen, but he doesn’t have Taylor’s desire.”

A five-time Pro Bowler, Taylor rushed for 8,597 yards during his career and scored 93 touchdowns.

His best season came in 1962 when Taylor led the league in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns en route to winning the MVP award. He was just the third running back to win MVP following Hornung and Jim Brown.

Taylor was a major part of the renaissance in Green Bay after the Packers experienced lean years during the 1940s and 1950s.

The Packers had won six NFL championships from 1929-1944 but then experienced 15 straight seasons without a postseason appearance.

The organization then hit home runs in four straight years as they added Starr in 1956, Hornung in 1957, Taylor in 1958 and Vince Lombardi in 1959.

Those four would be among the 14 Hall of Famers who restored the winning tradition in Green Bay and led the team to five more championships from 1961-67.

Taylor would play all but one of his 10 NFL seasons with the Packers before playing a final season with the expansion New Orleans Saints in 1967, who were close to his hometown and featured many former Packers assistant coaches.

When he retired after the 1967 season, Taylor ranked third in NFL history in rushing yards and second in rushing touchdowns.

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His 8,207 rushing yards for the Packers remained the most in franchise history for 41 years until Ahman Green broke the mark in 2003. He still ranks second among Packers in rushing yards and second in touchdowns after Don Hutson.

Current Packer Randall Cobb was among many who remembered Taylor on social media.

Taylor was inducted into many Halls of Fame including the Louisiana Sports HOF (1974), Packers HOF (1975) and Wisconsin Athletic HOF (2001).

In 1976 he became the first Packers player from the Lombardi era to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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