Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Jack Gregory—A Worthy NFL Career

By John Turney
Jack Gregory, former Browns and Giants defensive end passed away March 2, 2019, in Monroe Country, Mississippi. He was 74.

Gregory, (6-5, 255), was a consensus First-team All-Pro in 1972 and was a Pro Bowler that season and in 1969 as well. Additionally, he was a Second-team All-AFC selection in 1970. He is unofficially credited with 103 quarterback sacks for his career (38 with the Browns and 65 with the Giants) and was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2000.

Gregory was a tight end in college but was converted to defensive end after being drafted by the Browns in the 9th round in 1966. He entered the NFL a year later after playing one more college season with Delta State. (He began his collegiate career with Tenn-Chattanooga).
In 1967 he backed up Paul Wiggin and Bill Glass, starting three grames for an injured Wiggin. In 1968 he started six games, five for Glass. The following season he was the starter at right end after Glass retired and as mentioned made the Pro Bowl after recording ten sacks.
In 1970 he recorded 15½ sacks, among the tops in the NFL that season but he didn't garner many post-season honors—the lone team he made was Second-team All-AFC.
In 1972 the Giants gave the Browns a First-round pick (Steve Holden) and a Second-rounder (Greg Pruitt) for Gregory and Freddie Summers. Gregory was the right end for the Giants from 1972-78, although in 1972 and 1973 he moved all along the line as a de facto rover. His defensive coordinator, Jim Garrett, used Dan Birdwell in similar ways when he was with the Raiders.
Gregory's role, especially in 1972 was effective as he was All-Pro and had 18½ sacks (Sometimes reported as 21 but he had 16 solo sacks and 5 half-sacks) which led the NFL.
In 1973 and 1974 he recorded 9 and then 9½ sacks and followed that up with 14 in 1975, again among the NFL leaders and he was an honorable mention All-NFC selection. He was off some in 1976 (4½ sacks) but had a nice comeback season in 1977 but dropped off in 1978, finishing with just 2½ sacks.

In the Summer of 1979 Gregory, in a battle for his right end position with Gary Jeter, walked out of Giants camp and a day later demanded a trade, which he was granted—to the Browns, his original team. 

He played right end most of the season, taking over when Lyle Alzado had to love to left end and then to defensive tackle when other Browns were felled by injuries. Prior to that, he was usually rushing in nickel situations. 

Mike Giddings stated about Gregory, “Underrated pro. Who won by both ability and smarts. The type whose ‘numbers’ add up when you finished evaluating him."


  1. I love that illustration of Gregory playing rover, as if the mere sight of Gregory's face would fluster the QB...Medusa-like.

  2. Would you comp Gregory to Klecko?

    1. no...more like a bigger Dryer...or not quite as quick but stronger

    2. Though Gregory was a power guy like Klecko. Trying to go through you rather than around. Guess I was a bit off.

    3. Gregory more into pure power, Bill Stanfill would be another good comparison..Kelcko was someone with little wiggle, Gregory and Stanfill and Dryer all had wiggle

  3. All good points JT. Stanfill is a player I have not seen much. Need to see him more.

  4. I know Modell didnt want to pay him, yet still got a number one pick for him. Still a dumb move in hindsight ...