Ray Nitschke helped define the middle linebacker position while with the Green Bay Packers. Drafted as a fullback from Illinois, Nitschke was switched to middle linebacker and became a tenacious tackler and defender from 1958-72.
Nitschke was selected All Pro three times and was the MVP of the 1962 title game against the New York Giants. He made the NFL 50th and 75th anniversary teams at middle linebacker. He played in the second most games in Packers' history by appearing in 190 contests.
Nitschke was selected to the Packers Hall of Fame in 1978 and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978. His No. 66 was retired by the Packers in 1983.
After his retirement as a player, Nitschke stayed in the Green Bay area and became an ambassador for the Packers. Known as a gentle man off the field, Nitschke became active in charity and community work. In 1998, a bridge over the Fox River in Green Bay was named after him.