Lee Roy Caffey

Lee Roy Caffey
No. 34, 60, 50
Position: Linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1941-06-03)June 3, 1941
Place of birth: Thorndale, Texas
Date of death: January 18, 1994(1994-01-18) (aged 52)
Place of death: Houston, Texas
Height: 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight: 247 lb (112 kg)
Career information
High school: Thorndale (TX)
College: Texas A&M
NFL Draft: 1963 / Round: 7 / Pick: 88
AFL draft: 1963 / Round: 4 / Pick: 25
(Houston Oilers)
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Lee Roy Caffey (June 3, 1941 – January 18, 1994) was an American football outside linebacker in the National Football League for the Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers.[1] He played college football at Texas A&M University.

Early years

Born and raised in Texas, Caffey started his football career in Thorndale at the age of ten when he played on a pee wee league that played a team from Oklahoma in the 'Milk Bowl Championship' and shook hands with American legend, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and Olympic gold medalist Jim Thorpe.

At Thorndale High School, Caffey won the state title in the high jump and was all-state in basketball as a senior in 1959. He broke his collarbone in football his senior year and was out most of the season and was recruited to play college football at Texas A&M based on his basketball skills.

College career

Caffey played college football at Texas A&M University where he played both sides of the ball and led the Aggies in rushing as a fullback in his junior season of 1961. Defensively, the Aggies had 11 games where they allowed just 7 points or less and in 3 years gave up an average of 12 points.

Following his senior season in 1962, Caffey played in the 1963 Challenge Bowl and on the College All-Star team,[2] which beat the two-time defending champion Green Bay Packers 20−17 in early August,[3][4][5] prompting head coach and general manager Vince Lombardi to trade for him the next season.[6][7]

Caffey was a three-year Letterman and a member of the Texas A&M Hall of Fame, and a member of the Texas A&M All-Decade Team of the 1960s. He was the first Texas A&M Aggie to play in a Super Bowl and is considered one of Texas A&M's top 10 best players in the NFL.

Professional career

Philadelphia Eagles

Caffey was selected in the seventh round (88th overall) of the 1963 NFL draft by the Philadelphia Eagles. He was also an AFL fourth round draft choice (25th overall) of the Houston Oilers. He started as a rookie in 1963,[6] was named to the NFL All Rookie team and returned an interception 87 yards for a touchdown against the New York Giants.[8]

Green Bay Packers

On May 5, 1964, Caffey was acquired by the Green Bay Packers in the famous 'Jim Ringo' trade.[6][7][9] He started in 11 games his first year with Green Bay, during his six years with the team he would start in 80 of a possible 84 regular season games, and would become an All-Pro Player.[7] At 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m) with 10.0 speed in the 100 yards (91 m), he was one of the fastest linebackers in the league, and was versatile enough to play both the outside or middle position.[10] Caffey intercepted nine passes, returning two for touchdowns, most notably one for 52 yards against Johnny Unitas and the Baltimore Colts in the 1966 season opener at Milwaukee.[11][12]

He played on the unprecedented three consecutive championship teams at Green Bay, which include the 1965 NFL championship, Super Bowl I (led the team with 7 tackles), and Super Bowl II. Caffey played in the legendary Ice Bowl in 1967 and is credited with making 3 tackles for a loss, forcing a fumble, and accounted for the Packers only sack by dumping Don Meredith for a 9-yard loss; then spilling running backs Dan Reeves and Craig Baynham for 4- and 3-yard losses. Caffey was named AP and UPI All-Pro in 1966 and played in that year's Pro Bowl. In January 1970, after Lombardi's departure from the team, Caffey, Elijah Pitts, and Bob Hyland were traded to the Chicago Bears for the second overall pick in the 1970 NFL draft (#2-Mike McCoy).[13][14]

Dallas Cowboys

On September 21, 1971, Caffey was acquired for depth purposes by the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a seventh round draft choice (#182-Jim Osborne).[15] and was with the Cowboys, as a reserve linebacker, for the franchise's first championship team (Super Bowl VI) under Tom Landry, where Caffey received his third career Super Bowl ring and fourth NFL championship ring.

San Diego Chargers.[16] He spent the 1972 season (9 starts) with the team before retiring.


Caffey is considered one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL because he played beside Ray Nitschke in Green Bay, then beside Dick Butkus in Chicago. He is a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and was selected to the 75th Anniversary All Time Packer Team, the Texas High School All Super Bowl Team, and was nominated for ESPN's All Time Super Bowl Team. In 2006, the Green Bay Packers' linebacking corps of Ray Nitschke, Dave Robinson, and Lee Roy Caffey was named one of the NFL's Top 10 Greatest Linebacking Trios in the history of the NFL.


In early 1994 at age 52, Caffey lost a lengthy battle[17] with colon cancer at MD Anderson Cancer Hospital in Houston.[1][18][19] He is buried in Milam County at Salty Cemetery, southeast of Thorndale. He was survived by his wife of 33 years, Dana, two daughters, and a son.[1]


  1. 1 2 3 "Cancer claims Caffey". Milwaukee Sentinel. AP and staff reports. January 19, 1994. p. 1B.
  2. "College team named for Packer game". Reading Eagle. Pennsylvania. Associated Press. June 2, 1963. p. 29.
  3. Lea, Bud (August 3, 1963). "All-Stars upset Packers". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  4. Johnson, Chuck (August 3, 1963). "Vandy's slingshot is in fine fettle; All-Stars lambaste Packers, 20-17". Milwaukee Journal. p. 11.
  5. Barry, Howard (August 3, 1963). "'We killed dragon,' All-Stars chant". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 2.
  6. 1 2 3 Lea, Bud (May 6, 1964). "Gros, Ringo traded to Eagles". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 2, part 2.
  7. 1 2 3 "Ringo, Gros sent to Eagles, Packers get a line backer". Milwaukee Journal. May 6, 1964. p. 24, part 2.
  8. "Giants win, 42-14". Chicago Tribune. UPI. November 11, 1963. p. 2, section 3.
  9. "Packers pull trade, create new problem". Pittsburgh Press. UPI. May 6, 1964. p. 58.
  10. Lea, Bud (September 13, 1966). "Packers' Caffey can run like a back". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  11. "Caffey turns his back on backfield". Sarasota Journal. Florida. Associated Press. September 14, 1966. p. 18.
  12. "Ex-Aggie winner of AP grid honor". Victoria Advocate. Texas. September 14, 1966. p. 13.
  13. Lea, Bud (January 22, 1970). "Packers get Bears' no. 1 pick". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1, part 2.
  14. Pierson, Don (January 22, 1970). "Bears deal 2 - Mayes, No. 1 draft pick". Chicago Tribune. p. 1, part 3.
  15. "Caffey, Thomas join Cowboys". Milwaukee Sentinel. Wire services. September 22, 1971. p. 2, part 2.
  16. "Chargers claim ex-Packer Caffey". Milwaukee Sentinel. September 15, 1972. p. 1, part 2.
  17. Lea, Bud (June 22, 1991). "Caffey is here to return favor". Milwaukee Sentinel. p. 1B.
  18. "Cancer claims Lee Roy Caffey". Ludington Daily News. Michigan. Associated Press. January 19, 1994. p. 9.
  19. "Ex-Cowboy Caffey dies". Victoria Advocate. Texas. Associated Press. January 20, 1994. p. 4B.
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