Former Packers No. 1 pick Tom Bettis passes away at 81

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Former Packers linebacker Tom Bettis, the No. 5 overall pick in the 1955 NFL Draft, died Saturday at age 81. His passing was announced in a Legacy.com obituary.

Bettis played nine NFL seasons (1955-1963), the first seven of which were with Green Bay. He finished his career with one-season stints with Pittsburgh and Chicago. A Chicago native, Bettis played collegiately at Purdue and played on NFL-champion clubs with the Packers (1959) and Bears (1963).

Bettis would go on to have a long career as a defensive position coach and defensive coordinator for multiple NFL clubs, with coordinating stints with the Chiefs, Cardinals and Browns. He served as an assistant on the Chiefs’ Super Bowl IV-winning team.

Bettis was the Chiefs’ interim head coach for the final seven games of 1977, leading Kansas City to a 1-6 record. He retired from coaching in 1995.

In his final years, Bettis lived in Katy, Texas. He is survived by three daughters, a brother and a sister.

DairylandExpress.com and the Green Bay Press-Gazette earlier reported the passing of Bettis.

5 responses to “Former Packers No. 1 pick Tom Bettis passes away at 81

  1. 1959? Maybe you meant to say 1961? At any rate, three rings as a player and coach is a great career!

  2. Yes, it should be 1961. The first of their 5 Championships (w/the last two being named SuperBowls) in 7 years.

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