Remember Mark Lee? The one from the 80s? The one with the 22-yard interception return for a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys in the 1982 playoffs? Yeah, that guy! The 47th Packers Hall of Fame induction banquet was held at the Lambeau Field Atrium this past weekend, and cornerback Mark Lee was one of the featured inductees.
Mark Lee reacts after Saturday's Hall of Fame Induction Banquet pic.twitter.com/zhsgATijQm
— Packers Hall of Fame (@PackersHOF) July 23, 2017
Mark Lee Inducted Into Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame
Lee was drafted in the second round from the University of Washington, and played 11 seasons in Green Bay (1980-90). As a matter of fact, 31 of his 32 NFL interceptions were for the Packers. That lands Lee in second place among Packers cornerbacks all-time (eighth overall). Only Herb Adderley and Charles Woodson have him beat. Adderley is already in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Charles Woodson is likely on his way there, too. A highlight of Lee’s career, though, was the 1982 season.
During his tenure with Green Bay, Lee had 104 passes defensed, nine forced fumbles and seven fumble recoveries. The biggest play came on January 16th, 1983, at Texas Stadium, in Lee’s third season in the NFL. Green Bay was playing the Dallas Cowboys in the second round of the NFC playoffs. The Packers had experienced a ten-year playoff drought, and the season had been shortened by a strike. They beat the St. Louis Cardinals 41-16 previously, but in the fourth quarter, they were down against Dallas. That’s when Mark Lee intercepted a pass and scored a touchdown. That score made it 30-26 for Dallas, but put the Packers within one score of the Cowboys. In the end, the Packers fell by a 37-26 scoreline. These two games were Lee’s only appearance in the playoffs during his career, but he had made his mark.
But it wasn’t “just” that now-famous 22-yard interception that got Lee inducted to the Packers Hall of Fame. For starters, he is the classic example of a consistent player. He started in 139 of the 157 games he played in, and missed only eight games in Green Bay. He led the team in interceptions in 1981 (six, tied with Maurice Harvey) and 1986 (nine). Those nine picks in 1986 put him in a tie for second place in the NFL that year. It also tied him for second in franchise history for a single season, along with a slew of other players who were all bested by Irv Comp (ten interceptions in the 1943 season). Lee led the Packers in kickoff returns in his first two seasons. With an average 9.4 yards, he led the Packers, and ranked 11th in the league in punt returns in 1981. Not bad for a newbie.
The Packer Hall of Fame Association was founded in 1967. Induction ceremonies to the team’s Hall of Fame began in 1970, making the Packers the first team to do so. Since then, inductees have been added annually, and there are now over 150. Today, a variety of Packers memorabilia, artifacts and trophies are on display in the two-level Hall. This includes trophies from the Packers 13 world championships, a replica of Vince Lombardi’s office, and plaques representing each of the inductees. Visitors can also listen to stories as told by the players – stories like the one about Lee’s touchdown against Dallas. At last weekend’s induction ceremony, Lee was presented by his former high school football coach, Bob Jimenez. Mark Lee may have had to wait 26 years for the call to come, but hey, better late than never.