ESPN News Services
Forrest Gregg, who earned the nickname “Iron Man” for playing in a then-record 188 consecutive NFL games during his Hall of Fame career, died Friday in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He was 85.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced his death Friday but did not disclose details.
Legendary coach Vince Lombardi once called Gregg “the best player I ever coached.”
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Barbara and the Gregg family,” Packers president Mark Murphy said in a statement. “He was a legendary player for the team, one of the greatest in our history. The ultimate team player, he raised the level of play of those around him. He also had a great connection with the organization over the years. We enjoyed welcoming him back to Lambeau Field and seeing fans appreciate him around the state.”
After his playing career, Gregg went on to coach theCincinnati Bengals,Cleveland Brownsand Packers, compiling a record of 75-85-1 over 11 seasons. He led Cincinnati to the Super Bowl in the 1981 season, where the Bengals lost to San Francisco 26-21.
“It’s a sad day here,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in a statement. “My memories of Forrest are very special. He not only was the coach of the team, but we were also good friends.
“As a coach, he was very successful here. We had good people, good players and he got the best out of them. He was demanding. The players didn’t try to cut corners. They went out and did what they had to do, and what we were doing worked. We were somewhat ahead of the curve at the time.”
A guard and tackle, Gregg played on six NFL/NFC championship teams and three Super Bowl winners, including the first two Super Bowls with the Packers. Gregg finished his career with a Super Bowl title with the Cowboys in 1971.
Enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1977, Gregg was also elected to the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1960s and its 75th anniversary team.
“The game lost a giant today,” Hall of Fame president David Baker said in a statement. “Forrest Gregg exemplified greatness during a legendary career that earned him a Bronzed Bust in Canton. He was the type of player who led by example and, in doing so, raised the level of play of all those around him. Forrest symbolized many great traits and virtues that can be learned from this Game to inspire people from all walks of life.”
Gregg, a native of Birthright, Texas, played collegiately at SMU. He was selected by the Packers in the second round of the 1956 NFL draft.
Gregg was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011, and he had overcome melanoma in 1976 and colon cancer in 2001.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.