In his book “Run to Daylight”, Vince Lombardi said, “Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached!”
That is indeed high praise, coming from the coach who now has his name on the Super Bowl trophy.
Gregg deserved that acclamation. In his career in the NFL, Gregg was named to nine Pro Bowl teams and was named first-team All-Pro seven times.
No. 75 also played on six NFL championship teams, five with the Green Bay Packers (1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 & 1967) and one in his final year in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys (1971).
Gregg was part of a great draft class in 1956, as he was drafted along with left tackle Bob Skoronski, defensive back Hank Gremminger and quarterback Bart Starr.
Scout Jack Vainisi sure had a great eye for talent in the 1950s for the Packers.
Gregg was also athletic and versatile enough to play guard when needed due to injuries, like he did in 1961.
Midway through the 1961 season, right guard Jerry Kramer broke his ankle in a game against the Minnesota Vikings at Milwaukee County Stadium.
For the rest of the season and in the postseason (the Packers won the 1961 NFL title), the Packers put Gregg at right guard and Norm Masters at right tackle.
Kramer played next to Gregg at right guard for his entire career in Green Bay. Kramer reflected about the play of Gregg over that time.
“Great consistency,” Kramer said. “I was on the same wavelength as Forrest. Our whole offensive line was really.
“For instance, sometimes a linebacker would look like he was about to shoot through the gap between us. I would say, ‘Forrest’, and he knew immediately I would pick up the guy. Or perhaps Forrest would say, ‘Jerry’, and he would pick up the guy instead.”
When Kramer co-authored Instant Replay along with the late, great Dick Schaap, Gregg gave Kramer some nice kudos about the book.
Gregg and his roommate, Gale Gillingham, were visiting Kramer in his room in training camp in 1968. They began talking about the book, when Gregg offered up an observation as retold by Kramer.
“That damn book. Everywhere I go, people want to know about that book”, Gregg said. “I’m getting sick and tired of that damn book. But I’ll tell you one thing Jerry, you were dead-honest.”
Kramer said that was probably the nicest compliment he ever had about the book. Coming from someone like Gregg made it extra special. Gregg was right there with Kramer during the legendary ’67 season.
When it came to playing the right tackle position, Gregg was a true technician according to Kramer.
“Forrest was a position player,” Kramer said. “He wasn’t a guy who was going to knock you down particularly. But he was always in position. He would work himself to the side that he needed to be on and he would keep the defensive player away from the action.
“I can’t recall Forrest ever making a mistake. He was just very consistent and he played at a very high-level all the time.”
That level of play put Gregg into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977.