Green Bay Packers: Interview With Greg Koch, Packers Hall of Fame Tackle

TJ JenkinsAnalyst IMay 27, 2010

Greg Koch was picked in the second round of the 1977 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers, he was extremely athletic for an NFL lineman and had the ability to play both tackle and guard.

Greg is an extremely down to earth guy and very nice. In fact, after reading his answers to my questions, he's up there for my favorite player of all time. I just feel like the answers allowed not only myself, but anyone who reads this to connect with him as a person.

That being said, he certainly had a mean streak on the field, as all good offensive lineman have.

He was a second team All-Pro selection in 1982 and has been inducted into both the Green Bay Packers Hall Of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall Of Fame.

But, enough of me rambling, you want to hear his answers, after all.

What was it like playing in the frigid Green Bay temperature?

Most linemen would much rather play in cold weather than hot. When it is really cold, you really don't notice it once you start moving.

Some players live and die by the number they wore—does/did yours mean anything special to you? Or was it just a number?

Sixty eight was my number all four years I started at Arkansas, so I was hoping that it would be available when I was drafted by Green Bay. The Packers had a great guard named Gale Gillingham, who had just retired, so I got lucky. I also wore it at Miami and Minnesota. It was much more than a number.

What was it like playing in a stadium and for a team that has such a storied past?

It is both thrilling and humbling to play in Lambeau Field, both because of the team's history in the NFL and the great players that have played there before and since me. I was very lucky to have made friends with Tony Canadeo, I met Johnny Blood, and of course all the greats from the 60's including my friends Bart Starr, Jerry Kramer, Fuzzy Thurston, Willie Wood, Bob Jeter, Bob Skoronsik etc. Then of course my teammates including Larry McCarren, James Lofton, Paul Coffman,  John Jefferson, Lynn Dickey, Mark Lee, time does not permit me to name all the great friends I have made. Plus friends with those who came behind me.

Things can get nasty down in the trenches—what's the worst experience you had during a game?

Once I was on the bottom of a pile and Ricky Jackson, intentionally stepped on my hand with his cleats. I chased him to the Saints sideline and told him to keep his head on a swivel the rest of the game, because I was going to hurt him, or look him up in the offseason to settle the score. He was very apologetic after that.

Who was the toughest defender you ever had to block?

Jack Youngblood of the Rams, Howie Long and for pure pass rushing ability, Mark Gastineau.

What's the most important thing for an offensive lineman to have in your opinion? Dominating power? Brains? Agility?

You must be strong to play the offensive line, so I lived in the weight room, could bench 520 pounds, but you have to play with your head, study game film until you know your opponents moves better than he does. And luck plays a large part of just staying healthy. In four years at Arkansas and 11 years in the NFL I only missed two games. Proud of that fact.

If you could have played any other position on the field—what would it have been?

I was recruited out of high school by many colleges to play tight end. But I guess I ate my way into an offensive lineman.

What do you think of the Packers chances this season?

The Packers, should they improve their offensive line play, should have a great chance to win the division. Aaron Rodgers is the real deal, and Coach Dom Capers took their defensive unit to No. 2 in the NFL and you win championships with defense.

What do you miss most about your playing days?

I never believed it until I was out of the NFL, but what you miss most are the guys, the friends you sweat and work with, the ones you know are playing hurt, but always answer the bell. Larry McCarren was a great example to follow.

You're in the Packers Hall Of Fame, what's that like? How did you react when you found out you were being inducted?

I am really excited about going into the Packer Hall of Fame and also just found out I am going into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor. There are some great players in both, and it is a nice feeling to know that others appreciated your efforts. I am only sorry that my parents did not live long enough to see this, but am extremely gratified that my three children will be there to see their old man get honored.