“He was the hardest runner I ever tried to tackle,” claimed NFL Hall of Famer and former Chicago Bear Bulldog Turner. “When you hit him, it would just pop every joint all the way down to your toes.”
“I’ve never seen a man who wanted to win like him,” said teammate Cecil Isbell. “He didn’t know how to lose.”
While he wasn’t the biggest fullback to ever play the game at 5’11” and 207 pounds, Clarke Hinkle was one of the biggest advocates of hitting others before being hit.
Compared in style and demeanor to both Jim Taylor and Ray Nitschke during the 1960s, Hinkle put fear in the hearts of Green Bay Packers opponents for 10 seasons as a multi-purpose runner and linebacker.
Hinkle amassed more than 3,800 yards rushing with the Packers. He also kicked 26 field goals, 28 extra points and caught 49 passes for nine touchdowns.
Contemporaries remembered his collisions, particularly one with legendary Chicago Bear Bronko Nagurski. Early in Hinkle’s career, he’d taken seven stitches in his face from a Nagurski hit.
In another game, running from punt formation on third down, Hinkle saw Nagurski planting, ready to tackle him. Hinkle lowered his shoulder and smashed into Nagurski’s face.
While Hinkle continued running for the first down, the much larger Nagurski suffered a broken nose, fractured hip, bruised ribs and a wrenched shoulder. He missed most of that season.
Later in their careers, Nagurski went after Hinkle, knocking him backward. Hinkle kept his legs churning and ran for a 59-yard touchdown.
The punishing Hinkle played in three NFL championship games with the Packers, coming up a winner in the 1936 and ‘39 seasons.
He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1964.
To see Clarke Hinkle’s personal website, click here.