Ex-Packers defensive star Steiner dies at 87

Jeff Ash
Gannett Wisconsin Media
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Defensive halfback Rebel Steiner (74) is in the middle of the scrum as Green Bay Packers' defense closes in on a Philadelphia ball carrier during a 37-24 victory over the Eagles at old City Stadium on Oct. 14, 1951. Other Packers defenders are, from left, Abner Wimberly (16) and Dick Wildung (45).

Rebel Steiner, who as a Green Bay Packers rookie in 1950 had one of the longest interception returns in the team's history, has died. He was 87.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder played at left defensive halfback in every game for the Packers in 1950 and 1951. He led the team with seven interceptions in his rookie season and had three more in 1951.

Steiner had a 94-yard interception return for a touchdown during the third quarter of the Packers' 31-21 victory over the Chicago Bears at old City Stadium on Oct. 1, 1950. He picked off Johnny Lujack's pass and took off along the sideline, breaking into the clear after Joe Spencer threw a crushing block downfield.

That 94-yard return was a team record that stood for 34 years, until Tim Lewis went 99 yards against the Los Angeles Rams on Nov. 18, 1984. Steiner's return is still the third-longest in Packers history, and his 190 interception return yards in 1950 are still second on the team's all-time list.

The Packers selected Steiner in the 12th round of the 1949 NFL draft.

He was a star end at University of Alabama and played on its undefeated 1945 team, the War Babies, which beat USC in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day 1946. He then went into the Army, for whom he also played football, then resumed his Alabama career in 1947. He also played baseball and basketball at Alabama.

A knee injury ended Steiner's NFL career after his two seasons in Green Bay. After leaving football, Steiner returned home to his native Alabama.

Steiner died Oct. 18 in Birmingham, Ala. He'd had a stroke in July, according to Services have been held. He is survived by two daughters, a son and five grandchildren.

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Packers deaths in 2014

Don Bracken (punter, 1985-90), Oct. 29.

Leon McLaughlin (offensive line coach, 1975-76), Oct. 27.

Rebel Steiner (defensive back, 1950-51), Oct. 18.

Donnie Humphrey (defensive tackle, 1984-86), Sept. 2.

Perry Moss (quarterback, 1948), Aug. 7.

Ray DiPierro (guard, 1950-51), July 20.

Allen Jacobs (halfback, 1965), April 22.

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