Best of the Packers: Top 10 defensive linemen since 1960

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4. Lionel Aldridge (1963-71)

When the Green Bay Packers selected Utah State offensive lineman Lionel Aldridge in the fourth round of the 1963 NFL Draft, it wasn’t expected that he would become one of those rare rookies deemed solid enough to start for Vince Lombardi.

Switched to defensive end as a rookie, that’s exactly what Aldridge did, taking over at right defensive end and remaining there through three championships and nine seasons in Green Bay, leading the NFL with five fumble recoveries in 1964.

“Big Train” was traded along with a third-round pick in 1974 to the San Diego Chargers in April 1972 in exchange for safety Jim Hill and retired after two seasons with the Chargers.

In retirement, Aldridge battled mental illness after some initial success as a broadcaster for the Packers and for NBC Sports.

After a 10-year period of bouncing around the country between homeless shelters, Aldridge bounced back in 1983, taking a job in Milwaukee with the U.S. Postal Service and also becoming an advocate for the mentally ill and homeless.

Inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1988, Aldridge died from congestive heart failure in February 1998 at the age of 56.

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