End: 1938-41, 1945-46
Height: 6-3; Weight: 209
College: Utah State, 1934-36
- Pro All-Star Game Selection (game played 1938-42): 1940
Mulleneaux quickly established himself as a tough and rugged player in his first year of pro football, so when his career was ended by a horrific cheap shot, it was at odds with his well-earned reputation. After sitting out a year to work in the grocery business following his final season at Utah State, Mulleneaux, along with his older brother, Lee, joined the Packers in 1938. Carl’s nickname was “Moose”; Lee’s was “Brute.”
As a rookie, Carl split time with seasoned pro Milt Gantenbein and also Bernie Scherer, and then started most of the 1939 season when the Packers won their fifth NFL championship.
Playing what was essentially the tight end position on offense, Mulleneaux was viewed as a well-sculpted athlete capable of making tough catches in traffic and finding the end zone.
He caught a 40-yard touchdown pass when the Packers lost in the 1938 NFL Championship Game and turned six of his 16 receptions in 1940 into touchdowns. In fact, he finished second in the NFL in touchdown receptions that year behind teammate Don Hutson, who had seven.
Mulleneaux finished his career with 44 receptions for 850 yards, a 19.3 average, and 11 touchdowns. On defense, he was regarded as a hard-nosed, aggressive player.
“This Carl Mulleneaux … looks like a natural,” Curly Lambeau said after signing him. “Big and strong. Like a cat on his feet.”
The Packers first announced they had signed Mulleneaux as an undrafted free agent on March 1, 1937. At the time, the draft was only 10 rounds. Lambeau had stopped in Salt Lake City to sign him while en route home to Green Bay from the West Coast. In an unusual twist, Lambeau revealed a little more than five months later that Mulleneaux’s parents didn’t want him to play pro football and he wouldn’t be reporting for preseason practice.
After sitting out the season, Mulleneaux signed a second contract and the Packers made that announcement on Aug. 4, 1938. Once on board, Mulleneaux played four seasons before World War II interrupted his career. He spent three years in the Navy and played Armed Forces football for Great Lakes Naval Training Station in 1942.
He rejoined the Packers in early September 1945. A year later, in the season opener, Mulleneaux was a victim of a vicious blow to the head by John Schiechl of the Chicago Bears. Knocked out cold and carried from the field at City Stadium, Mulleneaux sustained a concussion and never played again. That night, rumors flew around Green Bay that he had died in the hospital. They were unfounded, but at mid-season when it became obvious that Mulleneaux wasn’t going to return, Lambeau waived him.
On Nov. 5, 1946, after Mulleneaux had cleared waivers, he announced his retirement. Two days earlier, he had stood on the sidelines in street clothes at Wrigley Field for the Bears-Packers rematch. He yelled at Schiechl at one point and later confronted him outside the Bears’ locker room. The two talked and Mulleneaux reportedly accepted Schiechl’s explanation that he hadn’t intended to injure him.
In six seasons, Mulleneaux played in 49 games and started 12, all at right end.
Born Sept. 16, 1914, in Phoenix, Ariz. Given name Carl Kenneth Mulleneaux. Died Jan. 23, 1995, at age 80.
- By Cliff Christl