Don Hutson (Born January 31, 1913 at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, d. June 24, 1997 at Rancho Mirage, California) was the first star wide receiver in NFL history. He joined the Green Bay Packers out of the University of Alabama in 1935.
Fans of the Packers received a preview of things to come in Hutson's first game. On his first ever play, Hutson caught an 83 yard touchdown pass from Arnie Herber. It was the first of 99 receiving touchdowns, a record that would stand for 44 years after his retirement.
Hutson was the first receiver to catch more than 50 passes in a season (1941) and to surpass 1,000 receiving yards (1942). In all, Hutson caught 488 passes for 7991 yards. Hutson rushed for three touchdowns and returned three interceptions for touchdowns for a career total of 105.
For many of his 11 seasons, Hutson was also the kicker for the Packers. He added 172 extra points and 7 field goals for another league record, 881 points. He retired from professional football after the 1945 season. Hutson was the top receiver in the league in nine seasons.
Hutson has been honored in a variety of ways. Don Hutson Street in Green Bay is named for him, his #14 was the first number retired by the Packers, he is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame, and in 1994 the Packers named their new state-of-the-art indoor practice facility across the street from Lambeau Field the "Don Hutson Center". Hutson was a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Current and former Packer executives, such as Bob Harlan and Ron Wolf have traditionally referred to Hutson as the greatest player the game has known.
In 2005, the Flagstad family of Green Bay donated an authentic Packers #14 jersey worn by Hutson to the Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame. The jersey was found in a trunk of old uniforms in 1946 at the Rockwood Lodge, the Packersâ€™ summer training camp from 1946 to 1949, owned by Melvin and Helen Flagstad. The jersey, a rare NFL artifact valued at $17,000+, was donated by son Daniel Flagstad in memory of his parents.