Best of the Packers: Top 10 linebackers since 1960

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Ray Nitschke of the Green Bay Packers is shown in a 1966 photo. (Photo via Wikimedia Commons/This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1977 and without a copyright notice.)

With the Green Bay Packers set to open training camp at the end of this month, Dairyland Express we continue our look back at the rich history of the Pack, ranking the top 10 players since 1960 by position groups.

Why 1960? Because it’s just more quantifiable since then. Full statistical information exists, which makes comparisons much easier, and honestly, professional football is a different game since the formation of the American Football League and its high-powered passing games.

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But we would be remiss to not acknowledge some of the top performers from that earlier era.

Among linebackers, that would include two-way stars George Svendsen (1935-41), Bud Svendsen (1937, 1939) and Charley Brock (1939-47), along with Bill Forester (1953-63), Tom Bettis (1955-61) and Roger Zatkoff (1953-56).

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Linebackers were originally players who generally cleaned up after running plays, with the defensive line picking up the blocks and the linebackers free to make plays. They were also responsible for covering running backs and tight ends in the passing game.

Then game evolved in the 1980s, with linebackers suddenly becoming a much larger part of the pass rush and teams constantly looking for hybrid outside linebackers who could defend the run, cover the pass and rush the passer.

And so our series continues with those tough guys in the middle line of the defense.

The first installment of the series counted down the top kickers and punters. The second looked at defensive backs.

So with that preamble, here are the top 10 linebackers for the Green Bay Packers in the modern era:

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