Jerry Kramer Excited About Pro Football Hall of Fame Induction

The Packers legend reflected on the Hall of Fame, his career, and Vince Lombardi, among other topics

The DA Show
November 01, 2018 - 12:15 pm

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Video of 2018 Pro Football Hall of Famer Jerry Krammer

Fifty years after retiring from the NFL, Packers legend Jerry Kramer will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend.

Needless to say, it’s been a long time coming.

“I sat down after the ’97 vote – we bought shirts and had a big party and celebrated and everybody thought we were going in,” Kramer said on The DA Show. “After that, I sat down and I was disappointed, of course. I’m thinking, ‘Well, Jerry, the game has been so good. It’s been such a wonderful experience, and you’ve been so fortunate to be a part of this Green Bay team. Are you going to let one prize you didn’t get spoil the 99 that you did get?’ I said, ‘No, no, that’s stupid. Don’t get angry, don’t get frustrated, don’t get pouty. Just appreciate the things you received and the wonderful team, the wonderful coach, the wonderful things the Packer fans have given us.’ So I kind of got comfortable with, hey, if I go in, fine; if I don’t go in, fine. It’s been a hell of a ride.”

Kramer, who played for the Packers from 1958-68, won Super Bowls I and II with Green Bay. The senior committee elected him to the Hall of Fame earlier this year.

“It was another compliment,” Kramer said. “It was another prize. If I got in, fine. If I didn’t get in, fine. I finally learned how to deal with it, I think, and accept it. Plus I matured a little bit. I was tickled to death obviously to go in, but if it hadn’t been that way, then I would have survived. I would be okay.”

Kramer played for Vince Lombardi for most of his career and took many lessons from the iconic coach. Including lessons on diversity.

“He absolutely would not tolerate prejudice,” Kramer said. “He just wouldn’t have anything to do with it. If you exhibited some prejudice, you were likely to be on a bus tomorrow night or a train or a plane or somewhere out of Green Bay. But he made everybody feel like they were equal and they were judged by their contribution to the team. They weren’t judged by their color, by their height, by their weight – by anything else. If you were a contributing member of the football team, you were one of his guys, and you were one of my guys. I felt that way, too. We judged each other with those kind of parameters.”

In his final season, Kramer roomed with Willie Davis, who is African American. The two have remained close friends. 

“What a wonderful human being he is,” Kramer said. “He’s one of my life pals, one of my great buds. When I go to play at Del Ray in Los Angeles, I stay at the Jerry Kramer Suite in Mr. Davis’ house. We have just had a 50-year friendship from the get-go. We talk about everything – about race, about the riots, about the Black Power, the White Power, everything. We just discussed it all and had some great, great opportunities to understand one another and we became great friends. 

“I think the biggest thing in a relationship is the start of it – to say hello, to say ‘How ya doing?’ to say ‘Hey, are you okay?’ We got to start taking care of one another in this old planet, because it’s getting (to be) too much turmoil and too many problems. It’s time for us to wake up, set up and shut up sometimes. So that’s what I’ll do.”