Where Are They Now - Jim Grabowski
July 18, 2014
Jim Grabowski - FB - 1963-1965
Illinois has an extensive list of illustrious running backs throughout its history, and Jim Grabowski fits perfectly into this tradition.
Grabowski was a two time AP All-American selection at fullback in 1964 and 1965. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1995, the GTE Academic All-American Hall of Fame in 1993 and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame in 1997.
In his first season as an Illini, Grabowski played well, but he truly began to blossom in his second year. In the 1964 Rose Bowl, he earned MVP honors as a sophomore, gaining 125 rushing yards to help the Illini win over Washington. Heading into the 1965 season, Heisman Trophy chatter began about the star Illini fullback. In the end, Grabowski finished in third place of Heisman honors with 1,258 rushing yards, becoming the Big Ten's all-time leading rusher with 2,878 total yards in 1965. Some of his collegiate honors include The Sporting News co-player of the year, Back of the Year Award by the Washington Touchdown Club, and the Chicago Tribune Silver Football as the Big Ten Most Valuable Player.
Jim Grabowski, following a historical collegiate career, was selected ninth overall by the Green Bay Packers in the 1966 NFL draft, and was also selected No. 1 overall by the Miami Dolphins in the AFL draft that same year. Eventually, he decided to play in Green Bay where he shared the nickname "Gold Dust Twins" with teammate Donny Anderson. During five seasons as a Packer, Grabowski won two Super Bowl titles, one in 1967 and another in 1968. His final season as a pro was spent with his hometown team, the Chicago Bears in 1971. Grabowski capped off his career rushing for 1,731 yards and 11 touchdowns.
After his football playing days, Grabowski became a commentator for Fighting Illini football games. He broadcasted Illini games for 26 seasons before retiring from the booth in 2007. Today, Grabowski resides with his wife, Kathleen, in Inverness, Illinois, a northwest suburb of Chicago, spending much time on the golf course and reflecting on his outstanding football career.