Forrest Gregg, the great lineman for the mighty Green Bay Packers of the 1960s whom Vince Lombardi called the "best player I ever coached," has died. He was 85.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced his death Friday but did not disclose details.
A member of the Hall of Fame, Gregg starred at tackle and guard. He played on six NFL/NFC championship teams and three Super Bowl winners. He was elected to the NFL's all-decade team of the 1960s and its 75th anniversary team.
He went on to coach in the NFL for 11 years. Gregg coached Cleveland (1975-77), Cincinnati (1980-83) and Green Bay (1984-87). He guided the Bengals to their first Super Bowl during the 1981 season.
Current Browns General Manager John Dorsey, who played for Gregg with the Packers, issued the following statement:
"Personally, it’s a sad day for me. I will never forget in 1984, getting a phone call and turning to my father and saying, ‘you’ll never believe who just called me. It was Forrest Gregg, head coach of the Green Bay Packers. He just drafted me as the 99th overall pick.' My father knew a lot more about him than I did at the time. I knew he had been one of the greats as a player and was a Hall of Famer. We were both happy that I was going to play for him and I’m proud of the fact that I was in his first draft class.
"He was tough, disciplined and very demanding. He wanted the game to be played a certain way and I always appreciated that about him. He was an honorable man, very principled. As a young player in this league, he was someone you wanted to follow. You could always feel his presence and he always wanted to make sure you knew he wanted the game played to his standard.
"I have a deep respect for him and I have a heavy heart today because he was the guy that brought me into the National Football League. Forrest’s mark in the NFL goes well beyond my time with him. This is a man that dedicated his life to the game of football. His success as a player, then his time coaching -- including in Cleveland with the Browns -- has left a long lasting impression on many. On behalf of the entire Cleveland Browns family we offer our deepest condolences to all his family and his many friends. Our thoughts are especially with his wife Barbara in this most difficult time."
Gregg began his NFL career in 1956 and played a final season with the Dallas Cowboys in 1971.
He entered the Hall of Fame in 1977. Its president, David Baker, described him as a "giant" who "exemplified greatness during a legendary career."
"He was the type of player who led by example and, in doing so, raised the level of play of all those around him," Baker said in a statement. "Forrest symbolized many great traits and virtues that can be learned from this game to inspire people from all walks of life."
The flag at the Hall will be flown at half-staff.
Survivors include his wife, Barb.