Willie Wood, former Green Bay Packers safety and Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, died on Monday afternoon in Washington D.C., the team announced. He was 83 years old. Wood was a member of all Packers' five championship teams in the 1960s, including the first two Super Bowls.
"The Green Bay Packers Family lost a legend today with the passing of Willie Wood," Packers President and CEO Mark Murphy said. "Willie's success story, rising from an undrafted rookie free agent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, is an inspiration to generations of football fans. While his health challenges kept him from returning to Lambeau Field in recent years, his alumni weekend visits were cherished by both Willie and our fans. We extend our deepest condolences to Willie's family and friends."
Packers fans went to Twitter to pay tribute to Wood.
"RIP good ol number 22," one fan wrote. "Right behind you. We'll grill some brats with Vince (Lombardi)."
"Started watching pack at 7, I'm 64, my step dad was from Milwaukee, so I have good memories of watching him play," another fan wrote. "Dad is gone so this touches me."
"You will be missed and always remembered Willie," another fad added. "Rest easy in Lambeau dreams surrounded by fans, friends and family."
Wood has been dealing with his share of health issues. According to Packers.com, the five-time NFL champion has been confined to assisted living for the last 13 years and he was suffering from dementia.
Wood was a member of the Packers from 1960 to 1971 and he finished his career with 48 interceptions, the second-most in team history. One of his most memorable plays came in Super Bowl I when he intercepted a pass in the second half to help the Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs.0comments
"We played well in the first half and at the start of the second half," former Chiefs head coach Hank Stram said after the game. "But that interception by Wood changed the complexion of the game."
Along with winning five championships, Wood was named to the Pro Bowl eight times, he was named to the All-Pro Team nine times and he was selected to the 1960s All-Decade Team. When Wood retired in 1972, he got into coaching. He was named head coach of the Philadelphia Bell of the World Football League in 1975 which made him the first African American head coach of pro football in the modern era. He then moved on to the CFL and was named head coach of the Toronto Argonauts in 1980.