Forrest Gregg, the man legendary Packers coach Vince Lombardi called, "the best player I ever coached," has died at age 85. Gregg, a tackle, played for the Packers for 14 seasons (1956-1970) and was a key member of the franchise's early championship teams, including Super Bowls I and II. He went on to play one season for the Dallas Cowboys, in 1971, helping them to a Super Bowl victory as well.
Speaking on Lake Effect following the publication of his 2009 memoir, Gregg described what made the Packers of that era special. "We had a great football team over a long period of time," he said. "The same guys playing every year, week in and week out. And we had guys who wanted to win and understood what it took to win, and gave the effort to win."
Gregg himself played week in and week out — at one point starting in 187 consecutive games for the Packers — through Lombardi's entire tenure as coach in Green Bay.
Following his playing career, Gregg coached the Cleveland Browns through three disappointing seasons in the mid-1970s. He later coached the Cincinnati Bengals to their first Super Bowl appearance, in 1981, and coached the Packers to a combined 25-37-1 record in four seasons in the 1980s. He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.
"The Game lost a giant today," Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker said in a prepared statement.
I’d like to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of a true Packers legend, Forrest Gregg. This picture has been hanging in my home office for the last 10 years and serves as a great reminder of what a tough competitor Forrest was. #Packers #GoPackGo pic.twitter.com/4TRXhvjcNX
— Matt LaFleur (@CoachMLaFleur) April 12, 2019
Three in this picture. Rest In Peace to an absolute legend, Forrest Gregg. Say hi to Vince for us all. pic.twitter.com/VcA4ZBDxOp
— Maggie Loney (@MaggieLawler) April 12, 2019
Got some sad news today that my uncle passed away this morning.
My mom’s brother #ForrestGregg played pro football for the Green Bay Packers, won 3 Super Bowls, inducted to the NFL Hall of Fame. Vince Lombardi called him the greatest player he ever coached. #greenbaypackers pic.twitter.com/pQ5zqe5JIe
— Jeremy Picker (@JWPicker) April 12, 2019