From left, guard Jerry Kramer (64), kicker Ben Agajanian (3), quarterback Bart Starr (15) and fullback Jim Taylor go through drills as training camp begins on the practice field across from new City Stadium in mid-July 1962. Press-Gazette archivesNumber 3 was retired for Tony Canadeo in 1952. So what is it doing on the practice field ten years later?
Canadeo retired after the final game of the 1952 season, where his number became the second to be retired by the Packers (Don Hutson's #14 had been taken out of circulation the year before). He immediately moved to the broadcast booth, broadcasting Packer games on television before joining the Packers' Board of Directors in 1958. The following year, he was elevated to the Executive Committee, which is where he was on November 18, 1961.
On that day, Vince Lombardi signed kicker Ben Agajanian to take over placekicking duties to replace Paul Horning, recently inducted into the Army. Known as "The Toeless Wonder" after having lost four toes on his kicking foot in an elevator while at the University of New Mexico, Agajanian had been in the league since 1945.
Green Bay Packers kicker Ben Agajanian (3) practices as training camp begins on the practice field across from new City Stadium in mid-July 1962. Press-Gazette archivesAgajanian had worn number 3 since college, and when he reported to Green Bay Lombardi issued it to him. Canadeo later told the Milwaukee Journal:
"Vince and I were good buddies. but Vince didn't give a damn. If Ben wanted No. 3, he could have it."Later, Canadeo indicated that Lombardi might not have realized that the number had been retired, noting that he "hadn't told (Lombardi) anything" when Agajanian was given it.
It was truly a different era, a time before old highlights on television and mass-produced media guides, before retired numbers were proudly displayed under the main scoreboard. It seems plausible that Lombardi might not have realized that the number had been retired at all.