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Eagles and Packers Swing Trade

May 5, 1964 - Coach Joe Kuharich needs immediate help in Philadelphia. Coach Vince Lombardi can afford to look to the future in Green Bay. Thus everybody has to benefit from the deal consummated today between Kuharich’s Eagles and Lombardi’s Packers.

Kuharich will get immediate help from veteran All-Pro center Jim Ringo (pictured) and hard-running fullback Earl Gros (pronounced Grow). And Lombardi will have blue-chip stock in the future with linebacker Lee Roy Caffey and the Eagles’ first-round choice for the 1964 college draft.

While Ringo is the big name in the deal, Gros figures to be the real plum on the Eagles’ end. The 6-3, 230-pound fullback was second-string at Green Bay, but only because the Packers’ regular fullback happens to be an All-Pro named Jim Taylor. There is a lot of expert opinion to the effect that Taylor and Cleveland’s Jim Brown are the only two fullbacks in the league who could keep Gros on the bench.

Contacted in Baton Rouge today, Gros seemed to accept his fate with a minimum of public sorrow. “I was surprised the Packers traded me, but at least I’ll get a chance to play,” he said. “I was getting restless on the bench.”

In another part of Baton Rouge, another fullback was just as surprised by the doings — Jim Taylor. “Earl’s a strong, straight-ahead runner,” said Jim. “He’ll blast ‘em out and run over them in the secondary.”

In Caffey, Lombardi acquires a corner linebacker who’s cast in the Packers’ superior physical mold. The former Texas A&M fullback is 6-3 and 240 pounds, a hard hitter and exceptionally fast for a linebacker. Caffey was rated among the more outstanding rookies of last season. He could step right into the vacancy that was created by the retirement of Green Bay’s defensive captain, Bill Forester.

Ringo was an 11-year veteran with the Packers, but Kuharich feels the Easton, Pa., resident has two or three more years of good football in him. “A center like Ringo should still be going strong at 35,” Kuharich said. Ringo will be 33 on Nov. 21.

Ringo’s attributes are his great quickness and his brainy approach to blocking problems. “Ringo can get that ball up quickly and get through to the middle linebacker before he has a chance to slide off to either side,” Kuharich noted.

On the debit side, there have been reports that some teams in the Western Conference have been picking on Ringo and overpowering him: Detroit, in their memorable 1962 Thanksgiving Day upset over the Packers, for example, and the Bears in the second of their two wins over the Packers last year.

This is no reflection on Ringo’s ability, but rather a commentary on his physical limitations. He’s small as pro centers go, listed as 230 pounds in the programs but probably closer to 215.

Still, the opposing defenses can’t afford to collapse on one particular man with any degree of consistency because only a few slight offensive adjustments could make such strategy backfire. That is where the coach proves his salt.

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