GREEN BAY – Former Packers safety Bobby Dillon, who owns the franchise record with 52 interceptions in eight NFL seasons, has been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a part of the Centennial Class of 2020.
Dillon's induction is part of the Hall of Fame's 15-person Centennial Class. A special blue-ribbon panel selected 10 seniors (players who last played more than 25 seasons ago), three contributors (an individual other than a player or coach), and two coaches (who last coached more than five seasons ago) and were voted on from a list of 38 finalists.
In addition to Dillion, former Packers coach Mike Holmgren, former Packers back/punter Verne Lewellen, end LaVern Dilweg, and back Cecil Isbell were also among the 38 finalists for enshrinement as part of the "Centennial" Slate. Additionally, safety LeRoy Butler is among the 15 modern-day finalists whose candidacy will be considered for enshrinement one day prior to Super Bowl LIV.
Dillon, who passed away this past August at 89 years old, will be formally recognized next month at the NFL Honors ceremony as the 26th member of the Packers to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Dillon, who played from 1952-59, led the Packers in interceptions in seven of his eight seasons and three times intercepted nine passes in what were then 12-game seasons.
When Dillon retired with 52 interceptions, only future Pro Football Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell, who had played four more seasons at that point, had more. Tunnell finished with 79 interceptions.
Although he didn't play for a winner until his final season with the Packers, Dillon was named to All-Pro teams from 1953-58 and was a Pro Bowl selection from 1955-58.
Dillon was listed as a right safety, essentially the free safety, throughout his career, but he also was called on to cover the game's premier receivers one-on-one.
Dillon also still holds the Packers' record for return yardage on interceptions with 976 and shares the team's single-game record for interceptions with four. His four picks came against the defending NFL champion Detroit Lions on Nov. 26, 1953. Dillon also returned five interceptions for touchdowns, a club record that was subsequently broken by Herb Adderley and later Charles Woodson.
Remarkably, Dillon played his entire career with only one eye. He lost his left eye when he was 10 years old following two childhood accidents. It was replaced with a glass eye, but the loss of vision on his left side never seemed to diminish Dillon's ball awareness.
"He and Willie Wood were the two best safeties we ever had here," former teammate Dave Hanner said in 2004 after spending 44 years with the Packers as a player, defensive coach and scout. "Old Bobby was smart, and he was tough. He'd get knocked out a couple times a game, but he'd come right back. When Lombardi came here, he talked about Bobby being the best defensive back in the league at the time."
The Packers chose Dillon in the third round of the 1952 NFL draft. He played in 92 games before retiring after Vince Lombardi's first season and the only season in which Dillon played on a winning team.