The man who wrote the book on being a star wide receiver hasn’t had one written about him. Search Amazon.com for a book on Don Hutson, and you’ll come up like the defenders who tried to cover him — empty.
Hutson was the first great wide receiver in NFL history, a revolutionary player whose unique ability forecast the future of pro football. Hutson, who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1935-45, is the forebearer to Raymond Berry, Lance Alworth, Steve Largent, Jerry Rice, and anyone else in the pantheon of pro football pass catchers.
The Green Bay great was to the reception what Babe Ruth was to the home run.
“He was the best I’ve ever seen,” Clyde “Bulldog” Turner, who played for the Chicago Bears from 1940-52, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after Hutson died in 1997 at age 84. “I don’t like to compare players then with players now. But he was head and shoulders above the ones in that era.”
When Hutson retired in 1945, he held 18 NFL records. He left the game with 488 pass receptions. The next player on the list had 190. His record of 99 career touchdown receptions stood for 44 years before Largent broke it, and still ranks ninth all time.
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