Daley: Bruiser was a character

The Green Bay Packers have had a whole bunch of characters on their roster over the years. One of them was a gent named William Frederick (Dick) Afflis.

How about this for entry into Green Bay: He arrived at training camp in 1951 fresh from a job as a bouncer in Las Vegas. He checked into the Northland Hotel packing two 45's in shoulder holsters. Of course, he asked the clerk to check the guns in.

Afflis was drafted in the 16th round by the Packers and his big reputation was "strength." He played guard or tackle at 6-foot, 251 pounds. A body building nut, Dick had a 52-inch chest and a 30-inch waist.

Dick didn't make the Packer Hall of Fame, but he was picked for the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2005 based on his 35-year career as Dick the Bruiser.

Afflis moved around a lot. He left Purdue after punching one of the coaches, and departed Miami after betting. He lasted two weeks at Notre Dame and also passed through Alabama before landing at Nevada. How draft expert Jack Vainisi found him is a mystery.

Afflis would yell "mule train" when the Packer plane departed for a road game. He lasted four years in Green Bay. One-time assistant coach Dave Hanner said tackle Jerry Helluin was stronger than Afflis after watching them "fight." Both players smashed beer cans with their hands. The scrap ended when Afflis smashed a beer can on his face, cutting himself and causing blood to run down into his mouth. Helluin quickly proclaimed: "You win."

During his wrestling career, Afflis broke both ankles, several ribs and his nose on his way to being called the most disliked and feared man of the profession. He died at the age of 62, lifting weights in his Florida home when a blood vessel in his esophagus burst.

Art Daley

Editor's Note: Packer Hall of Famer Art Daley is a featured columnist for Packer Report and PackerReport.com. The former Green Bay Press-Gazette sportswriter and sports editor has covered the team since 1941.

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