During the 15 seasons that he played offensive tackle in the National Football League, could accurately have been described as versatile, durable, extremely unselfish and exceptionally talented, one of the best ever to play his position in the history of the game. He was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, along with Frank Gifford, Gale Sayers, Bart Starr and Bill Willis. Forrest joined us for a live chat to reminisce about his days as a player and coach in the NFL.
MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us Forrest. How are you doing today?
: I'm doing great! How are you? (laughs)
kpaluso: What have you been doing since you retired, Forrest?
: I haven't actually retired. I work for a company in Detroit called Crosswinds. The man I work for is a builder and he's one of the top builders in Michigan. I do a lot of consulting for him and sometimes some public relations stuff. We travel a lot and do card shows and other guest appearances.
jacktripper: Do you think any of today's players could be an "iron man" like you were?
: That's hard to say. There are some great football players out there. Some people have played more in the NFL than I did. So, from that aspect, yes. There are some people there that could certainly do that.
mermitage: What's the fondest memory you have when you look back on your career?
: That is hard to say. You have so many great memories! I think one of the highlights was the first championship game we won in 1961 (when we beat the Giants). There was also the first Super Bowl and the "Ice Bowl." Also, I coached the Bengals in 1981 and there are a lot of fond memories from that.
Pete: What was Vince Lombardi like? Was he different away from the football field?
: I can't say that I really knew him away from the football field because we didn't run in the same circles. I got to know him pretty well and he was a very personable guy away from football. He liked to laugh and have a good time. He was very nice to my family and my children and my wife. He was certainly to be admired as more than just a football coach -- but also as a human being.
bronzebust: Who was the toughest guy you ever had to block?
: Gino Marchetti. He was the best all-around football player I played against. Deacon Jones was a great player too. His style was different than Gino's. He was quick while Gino had both quickness and strength.
Pete: How much do you miss football? Was it tougher retiring from playing or coaching?
: I think it's tougher to retire from playing. There's a time for everything and things must come to an end. You have to accept that both as a player and a coach. In coaching, you're not limited in age -- although people think you go braindead after 60! I have great memories of both playing and coaching. As for missing football, I still have friends in coaching that I talk to. I watch college on Saturdays and the pros on Sunday. It's still something I can enjoy!
jacktripper: Did you like coaching or playing better, and why?
: I liked both. I was fortunate to be able to play and then coach after I was physically unable to perform. I can't say if I liked one over the other because I enjoyed both.
joe f: Does any one coach stand out in your mind as your favorite? Why?
: Wow. It would probably be Jackie Sherrill. Because he recruited me at Pittsburgh. He had a lot to do with helping me understand football.
Pete: Do you think the Packers of the '60s are the greatest of all time?
: Absolutely and without a doubt! You know how that old saying goes, "Look at the scoreboard."
kpaluso: How often do you get back to visit the Hall of Fame?
: The last five years, I've been back every year. There were times when I was coaching that I'd also get back there. Last year, all the living inductees were back and there were over 100 of them. To be part of that weekend was kind of special.
packman04: Are you still a Packers fan? What do you think of the current team?
: Yes I am and always will be! The team's not winning like we would all like them to be. They are having trouble offensively. The fact that they still have problems with Favre at quarterback is a little surprising. We'll just have to see what happens in the second half!
<<b />MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us today, Forrest. Any final thoughts?
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: This is a great idea to have chats! I'm glad to be a participant and I hope the people enjoy this! It's great that other people can experience what I've experienced. Thanks!