I heard this story twice on the radio yesterday. Once on Jim Rome as I was heading to work....and then again on JT The Brick as I was heading home.
Kramer [who somehow isn't in the Pro Football Hall of Fame] was a right guard for the Packers during their "Camelot" run in the 1960s. He was part of the line which made the famous "Packers Sweep".....it's sorta like the precursor to the Counter Trey...and was an All Pro five times. He also subbed in as the place kicker for parts of three seasons.
He also won 5 NFL titles with the Packers....including the first two Super Bowls.
But while on a flight way back in 1981, Kramer removed his Super Bowl I ring while washing his hands. He came back to his seat and a few minutes later realized he left the ring behind in the bathroom. He went back to the bathroom.....and it was gone. When announcements were made over the plane's PA system.....no one stepped forward.
Since then, Kramer has been hoping it would find it's way home....but it didn't happen. So, he had a duplicate ring made from Jostens and had been wearing it ever since. But as Kramer said on both shows....the ring was more than just diamonds and gold. It was a bunch of memories that led up to getting it. The teammates, Coach Lombardi, the practices, the games....everything.
On April 21, Kramer learned from a friend in Canada and from John Nitchske, son of Kramer teammate Ray Nitchske, that the ring was for sale on the Mastro Auction Web site. Kramer's attorney did some talking....and got the ring back from the person selling the ring [who wasn't the one who stole it. The auctioneer had bought it from a pawn shop some time ago].
On Tuesday, Mastro Auctions bought the ring and presented it to Kramer in front of Lambeau Field.
So 25 years after losing it.....and 40 years after first getting it....Kramer has his Super Bowl I ring back.
Ah....but what about that replica ring he had made??? Well, Kramer is going to hold an auction on his website, JerryKramer.com, to raise money for the NFL players pension fund [if you don't know, the pre-free agent era players basically get nothing in pension from the league that it helped build]. So if you got some major cheese and you are interested in getting some Packers or NFL memorabilia....check out the website for more info on the auction.
Here is a release that Mr. Kramer made on his website:
Twenty Five Years ago, while I was on a United Airlines flight from Chicago to New York, my Super Bowl I ring was stolen. I never thought I would see it again. Today, Doug Allen of Mastro Auctions returned that ring to me. He presented it to me at Lambeau field. Wow, what a feeling to slip it back onto my finger.
Since learning that my ring had resurfaced in an auction conducted by Mastro, I have received many emails and notes from fans. I must say it warms my heart. I was touched by the concern, interest and good wishes. It has been so wonderful to hear from everyone.
I am grateful to Mastro for working so hard to secure its return to me, as it is something that is much more than a chunk of gold and a diamonds. It is a lifetime of memories, emotions and experiences, times I have listened to Coach Lombardi, moments I have shared with Davis, McGee, Hornung, Starr, Dowler. It is a symbol of all my experiences and all my emotions from that era of my life.
Now, with the help of Doug Allen, I am going to be able to do something positive and take a step to help some of the retired NFL players that are in need. I am auctioning my Super Bowl I Replica Ring right here on JerryKramer.com, using the funds raised to be the first in establishing a fund that will assist retired NFL players who are in need.
The fund will provide financial assistance to those retired players who are disadvantaged or indigent due to the inadequate pension and disability compensation provided to older players by the league.
I have always felt great concern and frustration regarding the condition of some of the retired players who helped build the league. The physical and economic conditions they deal with due to the lack of a sufficient pension and disability compensation is reprehensible. I just want to try and do something about it personally to help some of the guys who need it most.
Once the auction of my Super Bowl I replica ring has been completed, Doug Allen and I plan to go to work on a larger acution that will include many items and artifacts from the history of the league. My hope is that it will raise a significant amount of money to add to the fund