How about Mike Ditka was the first TE inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame. He played into the 70's. Did they start calling them tight ends in 1965? Any picture of an NFL team in formation before about then might not have any wide outs. They all played "end" before then I guess.
Teams had a "Flanker" and "Split End" beginning in the late 50's. They were considered different positions. And, about this time, you had "strong side" and "weak side" based upon which one had the end in tight.
In the 50's Cleveland had the "Three Don Hutsons" in Dante Lavelli, Mac Speedie and Dub Jones. I believe Dub Jones lined up at Halfback some, and was listed as a HB, but spent most of his time split out.
There were Tight Ends starting to appear about that time. Ron Kramer from GB was an early star, and the Colts had Mackey. Those two, along with Ditka, were the prototypes.