The 12th overall selection of the 1961 draft, first-round pick Herb Adderley arrived in Green Bay ready to build upon his outstanding collegiate career as a running back at Michigan State. The only problem was that eventual Hall of Famers Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung were already in the offensive backfield.
Struggling to find his place in the offense, Adderley's career took a surprising turn midway through his rookie season when he stepped in as an emergency replacement for injured cornerback Hank Gremminger.
Quickly, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Adderley proved to be a natural for the role, using his speed and instincts to pull down 39 interceptions over his nine seasons with the Packers.
In 1962, Adderley had a career-best seven picks. In 1965 (6) and 1969 (5), he led the league in interceptions.
Seven times over Adderley's career, including three times in 1965, he returned interceptions for touchdowns. Both of those feats remain unmatched in Packers history more than 30 years after his retirement.
But Adderley wasn't just a defensive specialist. For all but the final year of his Packers tenure, Adderley returned kickoffs as well.
His 3,080 career kickoff return yards remain in the top-3 in Packers history, behind only Steve Odom (4,124) and Al Carmichael (3,907). His career average of 25.67 yards per return also is among the upper echelon of Packers greats, as is his 103-yard kickoff return against the Baltimore Colts in 1962.
But for all his regular-season success, Adderley is often remembered for his postseason contributions.
With the Packers he was member to all five of Vince Lombardi's NFL Championship teams and played in Super Bowls I and II. And after his Green Bay career ended, Adderley moved on to the Dallas Cowboys where he played in two additional Super Bowls (V and VI).
Adderley's 60-yard interception return for a touchdown in Super Bowl II was the only interception return for a touchdown in the first decade of the event.
Adderley retired from the game following the 1972 season having played in five NFL title games and two NFC title games, winning all seven. His only Super Bowl loss in four tries was with the Cowboys in Super Bowl V.
Lombardi once remarked of Adderley, "I was too stubborn to switch him to defense until I had to. Now when I think of what Adderley means to our defense, it scares me to think of how I almost mishandled him."
Adderley attended five Pro Bowls (1963-67) and earned Associated Press All-Pro honors ('62-67, 69) seven times. He was a consensus All-Pro twice (1965 and 1966).
Adderley wore number 26 during his Packers career.
Herbert A. Adderley was born June 8, 1939, in Philadelphia, Pa.
Adderley's Career Stats courtesy of Elias Sports Bureau: