Green Bay — Jesse Whittenton, one of the staples on Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers defenses, died Tuesday at the age of 78, according to the Packers Hall of Fame. The cause of death was not included.
Whittenton started at cornerback for the Packers’ 1961 and 1962 NFL Championship teams. In his career with Green Bay, he intercepted 20 passes and recovered 10 fumbles.
As team captain, teammate Willie Davis remembers approaching each player before games to discuss their assignments. He wasn’t close to Whittenton but he did say that Whittenton was always a step ahead in his preparation for games.
He sought an edge against the receiver he’d face each week.
“Jesse was a real competitor, a bright guy who had almost a procedural way of playing every receiver that he typically lined up against,” Davis said. “I had great respect for him. He was a guy that I think was always ready to play. He was definitely important to the defensive plan and the design of the defense. Very seldom did you catch him out of position.”
Whittenton, originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams, played for the Packers from 1958- ‘64. He led the Packers in 1960 with six interceptions and earned Pro Bowl berths in 1961 and 1963. That 1961 season — when the Packers eventually shut out the New York Giants, 37-0, in the title game — he was a first-team All Pro selection. He had five picks with one touchdown that year.
Later in life, Whittenton purchased a country club and served as a member on the Senior PGA Tour. The cornerback was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1976. read more…