Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Alan Page is known for his aggressive, no-nonsense style. That style served the University of Minnesota Law School graduate well during his "other" career as a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears.
"If you're going to make a mistake," Page once said, "make it aggressively." That assertive approach made him one of the most effective defensive players of his era. It also contributed to some pretty impressive career statistics, including 23 opponent fumble recoveries, 28 blocked kicks, and 173 quarterback sacks.
Page, who was born in 1945 in Canton, Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, won a scholarship to Notre Dame. There he earned All-American honors as a senior.
The Fighting Irish standout was the Vikings' No. 1 pick in the 1967 NFL draft. He earned the starting right defensive tackle job in his fourth game and remained a regular throughout the rest of his 238-game career.
In 1972, he became the first defensive player selected the NFL's Most Valuable Player, and he was the NFC Defensive Player of the Year four other times. The nine-time Pro Bowl performer was a major contributor to Viking squads that won 10 NFL/NFC Central Division championships.
Page combined speed and agility to knife past the opposition. Rather than wait for the ball carrier, he sought him out. "A defensive player should think of himself more as an aggressor, not as a defender," he explained.
The 6'4", 278-pound Page gradually pared down his weight to 225 through a rigorous running routine. Vikings coach Bud Grant, however, believed Page's weight loss hurt his performance.
Grant placed him on waivers after the sixth game of the 1978 season. The Bears contacted him within hours of his release. Although he joined Chicago in midseason, he led all Bear defenders with 11-and-a-half sacks.
He played three more seasons with the Bears before calling it quits in 1981. In 1988, the Canton native returned home for induction into the Hall of Fame.
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