Gillingham was the Packers' first-round pick in 1966 and replaced injured left guard Fuzzy Thurston in the starting lineup in 1967.
"Gilly was such a good kid, had such a good attitude that none of us who had been on the offensive line for so long… really resented his arrival," the other guard, Jerry Kramer, wrote in "Distant Replay."
"It was just the natural progression of life. Fuzzy was aging, slowing down a bit. Gilly was young and swift and strong. Of course we all envied him his youth and his speed and his vigor, hated him for having all the things we'd lost. Until he showed up, Forrest (Gregg) and I had always been the fastest offensive linemen on the team. Suddenly, we no longer were."
Gillingham was a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro, and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1982. In between all of that, coach Dan Devine moved Gillingham to defense in 1972. He blew out his knee in Week 2 and was back on offense in 1973, and was selected to the Pro Bowl in 1973 and 1974.
The other finalists: Grady Alderman, Erich Barnes, Mike Curtis, Roman Gabriel, Cookie Gilchrist, Larry Grantham, Ken Gray, Charlie Hennigan, Rich Jackson, Bob Kuechenberg, George Kunz, Daryle Lamonica, Tony Latone, Harvey Martin, Lemar Parrish, Duane Putnam, Donnie Shell, Bill Stanfill and Jim Tyrer.
Nine Hall of Very Good players wound up being added to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including Dave Robinson, who was part of the Very Good Class of 2004.
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Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report's subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.