During the 15 seasons that he played offensive tackle in the National Football League, Forrest Gregg 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.
A native Texan, Forrest starred in college at Southern Methodist and was the Green Bay Packers' No. 2 draft pick in 1956. Even though, at 6-4 and 230 pounds, he was considered small for the job, he was ticketed from the start for the offensive right tackle position.
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Realizing that he would never be able to overpower the monstrous defensive left ends that would be pouring in on him, Forrest went right to work learning how to finesse them. He spent countless hours watching films of the NFL's most noted stars and it wasn't long before he knew the moves of every opponent and had perfected the ways to combat them.
Forrest earned an "iron-man" tag by playing in a then-record 188 consecutive NFL games from 1956 until 1971, his final season which he spent with the Super Bowl bound Dallas Cowboys. A broken arm as a high school sophomore was the only severe football injury he ever experienced.
As the Packers grew in stature in the 1960s, so too did Gregg. He won All-NFL acclaim eight straight years from 1960 through 1967 and also played in eight straight Pro Bowls. In 1965, one major wire service named him an All-NFL guard, the other picked him as its all-league tackle!
In 1961 and again in 1965, when injuries created a crisis on the Packers' offensive line, Forrest willingly switched to guard to fill the void. There he had to learn a completely new set of assignments, change his physical techniques and learn about a new group of opponents, the massive defensive tackles of the NFL.
But Gregg met the challenge successfully by utilizing his quickness, agility, intelligence and the strong desire he had to learn everything he could about the game of football. This instinct no doubt was whetted by his long-standing desire to coach when his playing days were over. Gregg, of course, went on to serve as the head coach of the Cleveland Browns (1975-1977), Cincinnati Bengals (1980-1983), and the Packers (1984-1987).
However, Forrest was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on July 30, 1977 because of his exceptional record as a player. A most fitting tribute came from the late Vince Lombardi who was blessed with many great stars during the dynasty years in Green Bay. But Vince, in his book, Run to Daylight stated simply "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!"
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