Three Packers will help celebrate 50th Charities game

By | August 20, 2010

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Photos coming soon

If you had your photo taken with Bishop David Ricken and the three former Packers players, we will have the photos available to download by Aug. 30.

Skoronski, who lives in the Madison area, played right tackle for the Packers in 1956. Following a two-year military stint, he returned to play left tackle from 1959 to 1968. He also served as the team’s snapper on field goals and extra points and filled in at center for a portion of the 1964 season. He was a member of five championship teams in Green Bay, served as offensive captain his last three seasons and was inducted into the Packer Hall of Fame in 1976.

“I didn’t know at that time when we started to win with (Vince) Lombardi what a special thing it was,” said Skoronski. “We had a great group of guys. There is still a lot of love between the guys on those teams. The Packers have been great to all of us over the years.”

The Bishop’s Charities Game originated with Lombardi, a devout Catholic, and Bishop Stanislaus Bona. Skoronski said that the players were aware of their coach’s faith, but it wasn’t something he talked about with the team.

“He was good for all of us,” said Skoronski. “Lombardi was very real about things. He talked about life and shared those types of lessons often.”

Skoronski recalls the grind of the pre-season during his playing days. The team played as many as six exhibition contests some seasons and starters averaged three quarters of action, he said.

“It was a time to get the team ready,” he said. “Some guys needed the pre-season to get into shape.”

Knafelc, who played for the Packers from 1954 to 1962 and was a training camp roommate of Bart Starr, said that he welcomed the pre-season games.

“At least they were games,” he said with a laugh. “The games were a break from two-a-days. The practices were rough. We did a lot of running. Conditioning was very important to Coach Lombardi.”

Knafelc, a member of the Packer Hall of Fame, still remembers his first meeting with Lombardi.

“I met him and Marie (Lombardi’s wife) at a hockey game,” said Knafelc. “He asked me how much I weighed. I think I told him 220 (pounds). I don’t think I ever weighed 220. I had played wide receiver for five years and he moved me to tight end. I enjoyed catching the ball much more than blocking.”

Knafelc caught four game winning passes in his career including a 28-yard touchdown catch from Tobin Rote in the 1955 season opener to defeat the Detroit Lions.

“I have the honor of being the only player ever carried off the field on the shoulders of the fans,” he said in reference to the Detroit game. “The way security is today, that will never happen again. I was lucky to catch some big passes. That’s all I can say. It was luck.”

Knafelc served as the Packer public address announcer from 1964 to 2004. He retired from announcing to spend more time at his winter home in Florida. He said that he looked forward to visiting with fans prior to the Bishop’s Charities Game.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “The older you get, the more you appreciate those opportunities.”

The 1961 pre-season was the last for Temp, a defensive end. He suffered a shoulder injury during the 1960 season and was unable to overcome shoulder problems the following training camp. The La Crosse native and University of Wisconsin standout was a second round draft pick by the Packers in 1955. He joined the team in 1957 following two years of military service.

“I was happy to make the team every year,” said Temp, reminiscing about the pre-season. “The injury was tough because I knew we were going to have a great football team in 1961 (NFL champions), but the good Lord does things in his own way.”

Temp, a member of Resurrection Parish in Allouez, remained in the Green Bay area following his playing days. He enjoyed a successful career in insurance and served on the Packers’ Board of Directors for 17 years. He attends all Packer home games and said he looks forward to the Charities Game event.

“I enjoy meeting anyone who wants my autograph,” he said. “It is nice that the fans still remember us old guys. There was a time when nobody wanted to go to Green Bay, and those teams under Lombardi changed that. It was truly an honor to be a Green Bay Packer.”

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