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If there is one thing no one is fond of, it is loss of life. While we all know we cannot live for eternity, it still doesn't make it easy when people we know or follow are lost. The best thing we can do is remember the good times and cherish the memories they left. http://www.nfl.com/photoessays/0ap3000001026242
Forrest Gregg is one of the most iconic figures in Packer history. Before he came to Green Bay, his draft report rated him as an "average" prospect. He was undersized and lacked athleticism. What he didn't lack was toughness, unrelenting work ethic, great technique and the love for the game. It was those traits that Vince Lombardi wanted his players to possess when they drafted him in the second round in 1956. While at SMU, he played both defensive and offensive tackle and earned All Southwest Conference honors.
Forrest Gregg played 15 total seasons (14 with GB) and played in 188 consecutive games, which earned him the "iron man" label. He was their right tackle for most of his career, except in 1965, where he played left guard and started 13 games. He was always around the ball and recovered 8 fumbles in his career. He excelled in one of the most memorable Lombardi plays - the 'Lombardi sweep" where guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston would pull over the center and tackle to form a wall for running backs Jim Taylor and Paul Hornung to run to daylight. It was not a difficult play to run and execute, but the Packers ran the play with deadly precision.
Gregg was 7x 1st Team All-Pro and 9x Pro Bowler. He was a part of five NFL Championships in Green Bay. He was honored for his play receiving NFL's 1960's All-Decade Team and NFL's 75th Anniversary All-Time Team. In his final NFL season with the hated Dallas Cowboys, he helped them win Super Bowl VI. Gregg retired that year in 1971. He was inducted into the Pro Football and Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame in 1977. Lombardi was quoted as saying "Forrest Gregg is the finest player I ever coached."
He first started coaching in 1973 with San Diego as an assistant. The following year he took a similar position with Cleveland. After their head coach was dismissed at the end of the 1974 season, Gregg was promoted to head coach in 1975. He held that position for a couple years. Gregg returned to coaching in 1979 in the Canadian Football League with Toronto Argonauts. In 1980 he was named head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals, a title he held for four seasons. He had his most successful year as a head coach in 1981 and led the Bengals to Super Bowl XVI, where they lost to San Francisco 49ers 26-21.
Gregg came back to "Titletown" in 1983 to be the Packers head coach. It wasn't without conflict as Cincinnati had to let him out of his contract. He lead Green Bay for four seasons before he voluntarily left to coach at his alma mater SMU in 1988. His career record as NFL coach was 75-85-1, and 25-37-1 in Green Bay. He was 2-2 in the playoffs, all in Cincinnati.
Gregg knew going to SMU was going to be a difficult task. SMU received heavy NCAA sanctions that decimated the program due to recruiting violations. They cancelled their 1988 season because the sanctions left the team with three returning players and just 15 scholarship players. Most of the players from previous years transferred. After leading SMU to a 3-19 record in 1989-1990 seasons, Gregg moved to director of athletics from 1990-1994. His determination to right a troubled program will go down as one of the riskiest moves in coaching history. He was inducted into SMU's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008.
Forrest Gregg was a man of integrity, a born leader and always willing to do what it took to succeed. He inspired people around him with his undeniable dedication. He lead by example and made everyone better players and people. Former Cowboy personnel chief and respected football guru, Gil Brandt said it best when trying to explain Gregg..."Anything you could say, is less than what he was."
One of Gregg's famous quotes will always be remembered in my mind..."I believe in discipline. You can forgive incompetence. You can forgive lack of ability. But one thing you cannot ever forgive is the lack of discipline."