Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Dennis Claridge passed away on Tuesday. He was 76 years old.
Claridge was drafted in the third round in 1963 and was thought to be one of the heirs apparent to legendary Packers quarterback Bart Starr.
In the 1963 NFL Draft, Claridge was selected with the 39th overall pick out of the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers.
The rules at the time stated that he could not sign with the team until his college eligibility ran out. Even though he had graduated, he still had one year left of eligibility meaning he had to wait until 1964 to sign with the Packers.
Claridge spent two years with the Packers as their third-string quarterback behind Bart Starr and Zeke Bratkowski. He appeared in one game and only threw one pass.
When the Atlanta Falcons were added to the league in 1966, they selected Claridge in the expansion draft. He played one season with the Falcons appearing in seven games including starting in three.
After the season, he retired to become a dentist.
Before he was selected by the Atlanta during the expansion draft, Packers cornerback Doug Hart predicted big things from the young Husker.
“I’d say he has the strongest arm of the three quarterbacks,” said Hart. “You should be seeing more of him this season.”
At Nebraska, Claridge was a three-year starter and was twice named to the all-Big Eight team. He led the Cornhuskers to a 10-1 record and an Orange Bowl victory in his senior season.
According to reports, Claridge passed away from bladder cancer, a cancer he had been fighting over the past three years.