A Moorestown High School graduate (1959), Dave Robinson was the first-round draft pick for the 1963 Green Bay Packers, an uncommon practice in the NFL during that time, Robinson said.
“It was standard to draft black ball players in the third round,” Robinson said.
But Robinson was more than a 6-foot-3-inch, 245-pound linebacker for 10 years with the Green Bay Packers. A four-sport athlete in high school and Penn State football player, Robinson is one of two seniors selected as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Yet, his superstition limits his thoughts on the final results.
“To tell you the truth, I am a superstitious type of guy. I don’t talk about it because it’s the ultimate honor. It’s the one team you can’t get cut from,” he said.
The second senior nominated as a finalist is Curly Culp, a defensive tackle for the Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Oilers, Curly Culp. Robinson’s and Culp’s names are on the list with 15 modern-era candidates for the Class of 2013.
Each nominee must earn 80 percent of the votes to be selected, Robinson said.
Robinson said he never considered playing professional football.
“I wanted to go to college for a decent job. That’s the only reason,” Robinson said.
It was the “taste of [his] own blood” and the love of football that made him stick out during his NFL career until retiring as a Washington Redskin in 1974.
Graduating with a degree in civil engineering, he played under Penn State Nittany Lions’ head coach Rip Engle. During that time, Robinson was a three-year letterman playing as both offense and defense end.
According to Penn State Athletics’ website, Robinson lead Penn State to a regular season of 9–1 in 1962 with 17 receptions for 178 yard. He was also inducted into the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.
He said his athletic abilities were not the main contributor for receiving a full scholarship to Penn State.
“[I received] a full scholarship based on economic need,” he said.
Robinson was a “good football player with good grades.” However 12 years in the NFL was longer than planned, he said.
Robinson said he discussed everything with his wife who passed in 2007. Originally, he planned to play only five years in the NFL, but in 1967 the Packers won the Super Bowl over the Kansas City Chiefs, 35–10, and again in 1968 against the Oakland Raiders, 33–14. Green Bay also won three NFL titles from 1965 to 1967.
Robinson hopes to get into the Hall of Fame for his wife.
“She is the one that I really want to get in the Hall of Fame for,” he said.
But even if he doesn’t make it, there is one place he will be on the day of the announcement.
Instead of heading to New Orleans in February, Robinson said he going to visit his wife at the cemetery in Cinnaminson to “celebrate or cry with her.”
Did you know?:
– Dave Robinson coauthored “The Lombardi Legacy: Thirty People Who Were Touched by Greatness” and “Lombardi’s Left Side.”
– In 1982, Robinson was inducted into the Green Bay Hall of Fame.
– Robinson was also a third-round pick for the AFL’s San Diego Chargers and the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes in 1963. He said he was originally going to pick the Chargers until he found out the team ran out of money and was planning to trade him.
– During his football career with the Packers, Robinson intercepted 21 passes.
– Robinson’s most notable performance was against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1966 NFL Championship when he blitzed quarterback Don Meredith forcing an interception.