Billy Grimes, 1927-2005


The Green Bay Packers were saddened to learn of the passing of Billy Grimes, a running back and kick returner extraordinaire for the Green and Gold in the early 1950s. Grimes passed away in his home state of Oklahoma over the weekend at the age of 77.

By all accounts an electric runner, Grimes shared the backfield with Packer legend Tony Canadeo during his three-year stint in Green Bay from 1950-52.

"The Comanche Kid," as Grimes was known, burst on to the scene in his first season with the Packers in 1950, returning punts for touchdowns in back-to-back weeks to lead the Pack to two of their three victories on the year in his second and third games with the club.

The former Oklahoma State standout set a team-record with his punt return average of 19.1 yards that season, a mark that still stands to this date. His combined 1,896 yards (600 on kickoff returns, 555 on punt runbacks, 480 rushing, and 261 receiving) was a Packer record for nearly 50 years until broken by Roell Preston in 1998 (Ahman Green is now the record-holder with his 2,250 yards in 2003).

Team historian Lee Remmel, who covered the Packers for the Green Bay Press-Gazette during Grimes' career, recalled fondly watching the quick back at work.

"Billy was one of the most elusive running backs in Packers history without question," Remmel remembered. "It's a little unfortunate perhaps that he's not in the Packers Hall of Fame because he was a very talented back. But I think the fact that he played only three years as a Packer hurt him as far as being elected into the Hall of Fame."

Remmel also has fond memories of Grimes off the field as well.

"He also had a great sense of humor. His business card - which he still carried until the day he died, I'm sure - read, 'Seen it all, done it all, remember most of it'. He was a very jovial, very friendly, outgoing person all of his life."

Grimes was honored as a member of the All-Pro team by The Associated Press and the New York Daily News in 1950 and played in the Pro Bowl in 1950 and again in 1951. The Oklahoman was also named as the punt returner on the Press-Gazette's Packers All-Century team, compiled in 1999.

Grimes' funeral is scheduled for Thursday in Yukon, Oklahoma.

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