Who do you think Vince Lombardi’s quote: “the best player I ever coached” is about?
Without the headline, many would have guessed Bart Starr or another star player from one of the many Championship squads Vince Lombardi had. But he did say it about Forest Gregg.
Gregg, a right tackle for the Packers from 1956 to 1970, was one of the best offensive linemen of his time, some say ever. He was an essential part of one of Lombardi’s most famous plays, the “power sweep”. With his speed and ability he was able to get from one side of the line to the other and still be in front of the running back when they reached the second level.
Back in 2010, the NFL named their greatest players ever. Gregg made it up to 54 and no wonder – he played 15 seasons in the NFL, when NFL careers were even shorter than nowadays, and he was a five-time NFL champion, a nine-time Pro Bowler, a seven-time first-team All Pro, he was also named to the NFL’s 1960’s All-Decade Team and the 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. Of course, he was also selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame (in 1977).
Being modest about himself, he told he wasn’t sure to make the team when he arrived in Green Bay and he said he didn’t unpack his bag for several weeks in hist first offseason in the NFL. In his first year, the Packers won the NFL Championship and Gregg went on to play 187 (!) consecutive games for the Packers.
Mark Murphy told about him he was “one of the greatest players” in Packers history. By the way, later in his life Gregg once again was a part of the Pack: As a coach from 1984 to 1987.
Rest in peace.Max Sachs is an international Packers fan from Germany. As a part of the Packers Germany, he tries to convince everyone around him to cheer for the greatest franchise on earth - or to start with, for American football in general. You can find him on Twitter @KaesekopfDE (the german translation for cheesehead).