A two-way football player even during his professional career with Green Bay, Charles Brock helped revolutionize the linebacker position in the pros while helping the Packers win two NFL championships.
The Columbus native was recalled as a fierce competitor by the late Lee Remmel, a team historian who covered the Packers for the Green Bay Gazette for nearly 30 years. Brock had the reputation of being a ball thief.
“I don’t know if he invented stealing the football,” Remmel said, “but he certainly was a pioneer in that area.”
Brock, a lifetime Packer, recorded 20 interceptions during his nine years as a pro. He captained Green Bay for four seasons under coach Earl “Curly” Lambeau and served as a player-coach toward the end of his career. He was later named to the club’s hall of fame and to its iron-man team after pulling double duty at center and linebacker.
Green Bay’s third-round draft pick in 1939 was twice selected to the Associated Press All-Pro team. He later coached at Omaha University for one year before returning to the NFL to help coach the Packers.
Brock was named the All-Big Six center three times while at Nebraska, and he earned All-America honors as a senior. Even so, most remembered him more for his play on the defensive side of the ball.
“Boy, could he make tackles,” said the late Don Bryant, who was the Huskers’ longtime sports information director.
The late Bill Pfeiff, a longtime Lincoln High coach, played alongside the star linebacker at Nebraska in 1937.
“He was a natural there,” Pfeiff said. “The good ones just know where to go.”
Prior to his college days at Nebraska, Brock starred in nearly every sport at Kramer High School. He earned 12 varsity letters — four each in football, basketball and track. He was twice an all-state football and basketball selection, and he was a weight man in track.
“He was one of our heroes of the sandlot,” Bryant said. “Charley Brock was what every kid in the state wanted to grow up to be.”
Related: 'Ball thief' Brock a star in life
Played for: Kramer High in Columbus, Nebraska Cornhuskers and Green Bay Packers
Best athlete from Nebraska played with or against: Perhaps it was Paul Amen, another multi-sport star of Brock's era. Amen, from Lincoln High, lettered three times in football, basketball and baseball at NU.<.p>
Best moment as an athlete: It couldn't have gotten much better than Dec. 17, 1944. He captained the Green Bay Packers to a 14-7 win over the New York Giants in the NFL championship game. The Giants had beaten Green Bay 24-0 four weeks earlier.
Brock was No. 74 in the inaugural Nebraska 100 list in 2005. See more about the 2005 list »