Friday, November 21, 2008

Glory Years CB Bob Jeter Dies

Cornerback Bob Jeter, #21, who played with the Packers from 1962-1971 and was part of three World Championships with the team, passed away unexpectedly at his Chicago home yesterday. According to reports, death was apparently due to cardiac arrest. Jeter was 71.

Jeter was arguably one of the best cornerbacks of his time. He made the Pro Bowl in 1967 and 1969. He played in 107 regular season games with the Packers, plus an additional three years with Da Bearz after being traded to them in 1971. Jeter finished his career with 26 interceptions for 333 yards and two touchdowns. He is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame.

With this kind of record, one might think this was the position Jeter played from college onward. Nope. He was a running back at Iowa. He actually set a Rose Bowl record in 1959 with 194 yards rushing in just nine carries as the Hawkeyes beat California 38-12. Wow.

Instead of playing in the NFL, however, Jeter signed a contract before the NFL draft with the Canadian Football League, where he played two years. This contract signing, though, didn't prevent Vince Lombardi from spending a second round draft pick on him anyway just to have his rights. After sitting out a year after leaving Canada, as required by NFL rules at the time, Jeter joined the Pack. Lombardi apparently wanted to play him at receiver, and envisioned him as a backup to Boyd Dowler. But after dislocating a finger on one hand, and then on the other, on two consecutive days, the story goes that Lombardi told him he had "soft bones" and to start practicing with the defense. Thank goodness those soft bones still let him haul in those 26 interceptions and, along with Herb Adderly, be part of one of the best cornerback duos of that era.

Jeter's son, Rob, is currently head coach of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's men's basketball team.

If you want to read more about Jeter, check out this story.