NFL Hall of Fame induction 2013: Dave Robinson's career still stands out from afar

Chris Graythen

Outshone in the glare of the 2013 class' more recent stars, the legendary former Packer's prolific career during the 1960s and 70s must not be overlooked.

In a 2013 Hall of Fame class filled with stars from the late-90s and 2000s like Cris Carter, Bill Parcells and Warren Sapp, it's easy to glaze over a player whose NFL career ended the same year as the Nixon administration.

Though it may be a long time coming, Dave Robinson's spot in Canton is as equally deserved as any of his Hall of Fame classmates. Robinson, who played 12 seasons between 1963 and '74, was one of the league's most dominant linebackers in an era defined by great defensive players.

Robinson was drafted in both the NFL and the then-distinct AFL drafts in 1963 out of Penn State. He eventually decided to sign with the NFL's Green Bay Packers, where he went on to star under coaching legend Vince Lombardi. He was a key cog in Lombardi's Green Bay dynasty, joining Ray Nitschke and Lee Roy Caffey to form one of the greatest linebacking trios in league history. He started at left outside linebacker in three consecutive NFL Championship wins between 1965 and '67, including Super Bowls I and II.

After a torn Achilles tendon ended his season in 1970, Robinson quickly bounced back to his dominant form the following season. The Packers hired a new coach that year, Dan Devine, with whom Robinson never got along. The friction eventually led to an exodus to Kansas City, where Robinson played the final two years of his career.

In a time before tackles were a recorded stat, it's unknown how many ball-carriers Robinson hauled down in his day, but it is known that he pulled in 27 interceptions over his 12 years, five of those coming in the 1966 championship season.

Robinson finished his career with an impressive array of awards and accolades. He was named a first-team All-NFL selection in three consecutive seasons from 1967 to '69, and earned second-team All-Pro in '68 and '69. He was voted to the Pro Bowl on three occasions and was named to the All-Decade Team of the 1960s.

You may not recognize him as he stands next to some of the more notable names during Sunday's Hall of Fame induction ceremony, but rest assured, Robinson's place among them is well-deserved.

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