Former New York Jets coach Walt Michaels died Wednesday at age 89. He played one season for the Green Bay Packers in 1951. Lou Michaels, his brother, played for the Packers in 1971.
“We had a lot of fun. I enjoyed Green Bay,” Walt Michaels said in a 2004 interview. “We got to know everybody. We’d go have a glass of beer and everybody would know us.”
Michaels was coach of the Jets from 1977 to 1982, compiling a 41-49-1 record. He began as an assistant coach with the Oakland Raiders in 1962 and then joined the Jets’ staff the next year under Weeb Ewbank. He was an assistant when the Jets won Super Bowl III. Michaels also served a three-year stint as an assistant in Philadelphia from 1973 to 1975 before returning to the Jets.
Michaels was drafted by Cleveland in 1951 and traded to the Packers. He played in 12 games for the Packers and then was traded back to Cleveland. He played 10 years for the Browns and played on two NFL championship teams.
Michaels played mostly linebacker in Green Bay.
“I started on defense,” he said. “Then, Gene Ronzani, who was the coach up there, said, ‘I see in your records’ – they didn’t have an extensive scouting system; we just wrote out what we ever did and I used to play offense in high school – ‘could you try playing some guard.’ I said, ‘Certainly.’ I’ll never forget sitting there with Tarz Taylor, one of the coaches. He said, ‘I’ll teach you this (Clark) Shaughnessy system overnight.’ So I played offensive guard the last five or six games.”
Michaels said his salary in Green Bay was $5,000.