John Brockington, a former fullback with a brilliant combination of power and speed for the Packers, died on Friday. He was 74.
Brockington, who was selected at No. 9 by Green Bay in the first round of the 1971 NFL draft, rushed for 5,024 yards—fourth-all time in rushing yards for the Packers—and 29 touchdowns in 85 games across seven seasons with the Packers. The three-time Pro Bowler became the first back in NFL history to rush for more than 1,000 yards in each of his first three seasons.
Known for his bulldozing running style, Brockington tallied 1,105 yards during his rookie campaign, while averaging 5.1 yards per carry on his way to being named the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. In his second year, he was one half of a dynamic duo with MacArthur Lane, the pair of which helped deliver the Packers their only NFC Central division championship between 1967 and ’95.
“John Brockington was the toughest, hardest hitting running back that I knew,” said former Packers left guard Bill Lueck in 2019. “He was a beast. Nobody wanted to tackle him. … He may run over you the first play, and the next play you're all tensed up and ready for this major collision, and he’d put a move on you. You never knew what was coming: A move or run over you.”
However, Brockington’s production decreased noticeably after his first three seasons, In 1974, he rushed for 883 yards but was limited to 434 yards or fewer in each of his next three seasons.
The Packers waived Brockington one game into the ’77 season. From there, he went on to play in 10 games for the Chiefs that season and retired at the end of the campaign after an eight-year career. He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in ’84.