Raymond Ernest 'Ray' Nitschke (December 29, 1936--March 8, 1998) was a professional football player who played his entire career as a middle linebacker for the Green Bay Packers of the NFL. Wearing #66, he played fifteen seasons, from 1958-72. Nitschke was born on December 29, 1936 in Elmwood Park, Illinois, the youngest of three sons to Robert and Anna Nitschke. His father was killed in a car accident in 1940, and his mother died of a blood clot when Ray was 13. Older brothers Robert Jr. (age 21) and Richard (age 17) decided they would raise Ray on their own. Ray entered Proviso High School in Maywood shortly before his mother's death. The loss of both parents enraged Nitschke, and the lack of a parental disciplinarian to quell his rage, caused him to engage in fights with other kids in the neighborhood. His freshman year at Proviso, Ray played fullback on one of the school's three football teams.
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