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Where Are They Now?: Chester "Swede" Johnston

At 87 years of age, Chester "Swede" Johnston is alledged to be the oldest living Green Bay Packer. And he admits the game has changed a bit since he roamed the gridiron.

"Most of the players are about 150 pounds heavier, six inches taller, faster -- they're just better athletes. But the way they play today, they play a few plays and go and sit on the bench. When the ball changes hands, they change with it.

"One-way -- it made for a good game."

A game the Packers excelled at during Johnston's stint with the team. The back from Marquette played under Curly Lambeau in 1931, and again from 1934 to 1938. The Packers amassed a 52-18-1 record in those six seasons, beating the Redskins 21-6 in the 1936 title games.

Johnston's most productive season statistically was in 1935, when he rushed for 176 yards on 52 carries. He also had six catches for 59 yards and a touchdown. His lone rushing touchdown came a year later, when he gained 110 yards on the season.

Johnston's favorite memory of his Packer days was a win over the Lions at Detroit's Briggs Stadium.

"We were playing the Detroit Lions and they had some backs that could really run. All week were trying to figure out how we could stop those guys. The night before the game, they hauled sand out on the field, about four inches on the whole field. And those backs couldn't get loose. We beat 'em."

Once his playing days were over, Johnston moved to Pittsburgh and worked for Westinghouse Electric.

"I was a salesman for them," he says. "I went on the road and was with them for 30 years. When we played football there I remember sitting on the train, turning to my wife and telling her 'I wouldn't live in Pittsburgh if they gave it to me.' But that all changed. I still live in Pittsburgh."

Johnston currently splits time between the Steel City and a winter home in Florida.

"I'm on vacation. I have been for 20 years."


1931: 12-2 (NFL Champions)

1934: 7-6 (3rd, Western Division)

1935: 8-4 (2nd, Western Division)

1936: 10-1-1 (NFL Champions)

1937: 7-4 (T-2nd, Western Division)

1938: 8-3 (NFL Runner-Up)

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