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Lombardi “Shocked and Hurt” at Hornung Suspension News

Apr. 17, 1963 - Coach and general manager Vince Lombardi of the Green Bay Packers said today he is “shocked and hurt” at the news of Paul Hornung’s suspension, but that Hornung was guilty of a “definite violation of the player contract” in regard to gambling. Lombardi said NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle had no alternative but to suspend Hornung because if what Hornung was doing was “allowed to continue” it could lead to “more serious consequences.” “There is no evidence of criminal intent, that is, the shaving of points and so forth,” Lombardi said. “The caliber of his play was not affected. However, there was a definite violation. I thought a great deal of Paul. He always gave 100% in football. He has meant a great deal to the Packers. Sure it will hurt. But possibly this might make us a much closer knit team.” It was Rozelle’s stated opinion that Lombardi had no knowledge of Hornung’s betting activities. “Oh, he had heard the rumors which were flying around,” Rozelle said today, “but it wasn’t until I called him in last week when he was in town that he knew Hornung was involved.” Bart Starr, Packers quarterback, said he was “shocked” at the news. “We all think the world of Paul. He’s a great football player,” Starr said. “This thing makes me sick,” said guard Jerry Kramer. “We all thought the world of Paul. He was a great pro. It’s ironic — I’ve been going around telling gatherings how much Paul will mean to us this year — and this happens. What Paul did is definitely against the rules of a player’s contract. But the report proves he never bet against us. If he had, we might feel differently about him.” American Football League commmissioner Joe Foss said today that “under no circumstances” will Hornung or Alex Karras be allowed to play in the AFL while they are under suspension by the NFL. “As far as the AFL is concerned,” Foss said, “the two players were suspended from professional football, not just the NFL.”


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