Gale Gillingham #68
Gosh, there have been some really good players to wear #68 for the Packers … consider guys like Greg Koch – a Packers Hall-of-Famer – and Mike Wahle? Both of these guys wouldn’t be bad to start an offensive line around.
But it’s Gale Gillingham, another inductee into the Packers Hall of Fame, who is highlighted because, like Jerry Kramer, he epitomizes excellence at the position.
Here’s How Maxymuk describes Gillingham:
"Cowboy Hall of Fame defensive tackle Bob Lilly called Gale Gillingham the second toughest offensive lineman he ever faced. All Pro linebacker Bill bergey said, “When you’re playing football and you’re concentrating and you get hit, it never hurts. When Gillingham hit me, it hurt,” Both Bart Starr and Hawg Hanner claimed he was the best lineman they ever had on the Packers in their time. Those linemen inferior to Gillingham would include Hall of Famers Forest Gregg and Jim Ringo, All Pro pulling guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, and Pro Bowler Bob Skoronski. Gillingham was an immensely strong 6-2, 265-pound drive-blocker supreme. He also had an amazing speed and agility for such a big man so that he would pull out on the Packer sweep just as well as Kramer and Thurston. He was a good teammate and a fierce competitor who fit right in as a rookie in 1966, and he was groomed to replace the aging Fuzzy Thurston by the ultimate team player, Fuzzy Thurston himself. “Everybody was helpful in those days. It was kind of like family, Gillingham would comment years later. Gilly would be selected as an All Pro five times and would make the Pro Bowl in each of those seasons, too. He was a second-team All Pro in still another year. He, of course, played in the first two Super Bowls before the team began to decline. Unfortunately, the only other year the Packers made the playoffs was in 1972, and Gilly was out all year with an injury. In an imbecilic and incompetent move, Coach Dan Devine asked the best guard in the league to move to defensive tackle that year in training camp, because starter Mike McCoy was hurt. Learning a new position, team player Gillingham blew out his knees and was lost for the year. Maybe he would have gotten hurt, anyway, but Gilly always attributed the injury to the position shift. He came back and had two more All Pro years in 1973 and 1974, but he was not happy under Devine. When Bart Starr became coach in 1975, Gale surveyed the scene and sat out the season. His assessment was that the inexperienced Starr did not know how to be a head coach at that time, and that the assistants he hired were terrible. Gillingham was a prescient and perceptive observer. When the Packers refused to trade him to another team, Gilly returned in 1976 for one final year, but then retired for good, still unhappy with the coaching staff. He was still able to play, but had no desire to go on losing. Gillingham was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982."
Here is a list of all players since 1950 to wear #68