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Gregory Andrew Skrepenak (born January 31, 1970) is a former professional American football offensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles/Oakland Raiders and the Carolina Panthers. Skrepenak's professional football career spanned the final three years the Raiders played in from 1992-1994 and the first year they returned to Oaklandmarker, California in 1995. Then, it continued with consecutive seasons (1996 and 1997) with the Carolina Panthers in which he did not miss a start.

Prior to his NFL experience Skrepenak had starred in the Big Ten football conference for the University of Michiganmarker Wolverines as a two-time All-American, team captain, and four-year starter from 1988-1991. Skrepenak played for four consecutive Big Ten Conference Champions, appeared in three Rose Bowlmarker and won a Gator Bowl MVP. Previously he had been a scholar athlete at G.marker A.marker R.marker Memorial Junior Senior High Schoolmarker where he earned 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball.

Skrepenak, who was born and raised in Wilkes-Barremarker in Luzerne Countymarker, Pennsylvaniamarker, United States, was elected in 2003 to serve as the Luzerne County Commissioner, a position he has held since January 2004. Skrepenak was re-elected on November 6, 2007. He had considered running for the United States House of Representatives in the 2006 elections, but decided against running for such an office this early in his political career.

Early life

Skrepenak was born and raised in , where he attended G.marker A.marker R.marker Memorial Junior Senior High Schoolmarker. In high school, he was an honor student who excelled in three sports: American football, basketball and baseball. In football, he earned All-scholastic, All-state, and All-American recognition. In basketball, where he scored 1600 points, he was a four-time All-scholastic athlete and two-time conference Most Valuable Player as well as a McDonald's All-American team nominee. In baseball, he was a three-time All-scholastic awardee and an MVP. As a result of his accomplishments he was inducted into the Luzerne County Sports Hall of Fame and the Pennsylvania State Sports Hall of Fame.

College

At the University of Michigan, Skrepenak was a two-time All-American, a two-time "All Big Ten" selection and a "Big Ten Lineman of the Year". Skrepenak, who wore #75 for the Michigan Wolverines football program from 1987 to 1991, was also recognized as a "Samaritan All-American" for his community service. Number 75 for the Wolverines is described as the biggest player to have ever played for Michigan at , . As a four-year starter, he set the school offensive line record with 48 starts. In addition, he helped his running backs set new standards in yards/carry for Michigan football. During his time at Michigan, Skrepenak played for four consecutive Big Ten Conference Champions, appeared in three Rose Bowlmarker and won a Gator Bowl MVP. His teams under Bo Schembechler and Gary Moeller compiled a 29–2–1 Big Ten record and each of his teams ended the season ranked in the top 10.

In the January 1991 Gator Bowl, Skrepenak and the entire offensive line, which included Dean Dingman, were named Most Valuable Player. Skrepenak helped the Michigan offense gain a record 715 yards of total offense in a 35-3 victory over Mississippimarker in the Gator Bowl. This marked the culmination of a productive season in which the offensive line helped Jon Vaughn set the Michigan football record for career yards per carry (minimum 200 attempts). Behind true senior Dingman and redshirt junior Skrepenak, redshirt sophomore Vaughn concluded his Michigan career that season with 1,473 yards on 226 rush for a career 6.3 yards per attempt average, including 1,416 yards on 216 rushes during the 1990 season.

In 1991, he was a consensus All-American. As the senior offensive captain, he was a finalist for both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award. He was the January 1, 1991 Gator Bowl co-MVP and a Senior Bowl participant. The following season, he was a member of the offensive line that protected Elvis Grbac while he was connecting with Heisman Trophy winner Desmond Howard. Also during that season, Tyrone Wheatley set the Michigan freshman yards per carry (minimum 50 attempts) with 555 yards on 86 carries for a 6.4 yards per attempt average behind Skrepenak after Dingman graduated. In 2000, he was voted onto the Wolverine’s "All-Century Team".

Professional football

Skrepenak was drafted in the 1992 NFL Draft with the 32nd overall pick in the second round by the Los Angeles Raiders. He stayed with the franchise for four seasons, which included a relocation from Los Angeles to Oakland. During training camp of the 1993 NFL season he was moving into the starting lineup due to an injury to Gerald Perry. However, he was injured during his second preseason start when Charles Haley bull rushed him, which caused him to get tangled up between Jeff Hostetler and the turf and which resulted in a dislocated ankle joint that kept him out for the season. Skrepenak did not become a starter for the Raiders until midway through the 1994 NFL season when he replaced Bruce Wilkerson. He started the final 10 games of 1994 and the first 14 games of the 1995 NFL season before being benched toward the end of the season in favor of Robert Jenkins. Skrepenak was deactivated from the roster for the final two games of the season right before his contract expired. Officially, the deactivation was due to a combination of a rib injury and the flu, but some say it may have also been partially due to vocal play selection criticism. However, head coach Mike White and assistant coach Joe Bugel said the benching was merely a function of the full strength depth chart upon the return of Gerald Perry. Skrepenak was a vocal detractor on the organization after leaving the Raiders. Among the opinions Skrepenak expressed during his time with the Raiders was that the Raiders overemphasized slogans related to team history while setting penalty records as a team.

The Panthers signed him in the offseason after the 1995 NFL season as an unrestricted free agent. While he was a Panther, he and Blake Brockermeyer were considered the key components of the offensive line. He was the only Panther to start every game of both the 1996 and 1997 National Football League seasons. He was named to the Panther’s All-Time Team. He was released from the team due to salary cap considerations. Skrepenak was rumored to be sought after by the Miami Dolphins in 1998. However, he spent the year out of football. Skrepenak was in the Oakland Raiders' 1999 summer camp, but during his comeback attempt he had to leave the Raiders camp in on August 10, 1999 to attend to personal business back in Wilkes-Barre for several days. Skrepenak was a supporter of the new Jon Gruden coaching administration upon his return to the Raiders despite the fact that he was not as highly paid or expected to start. Skrepenak was a popular offensive lineman with the Raiders and his spot was held in his absence with a special tribute by Steve Wisniewski and Mo Collins who both wore his jersey number in his absence. Skrepenak returned to camp for a few weeks. On August 31, he was released.

During Skrepenak's career, he played for only one playoff team. Coach, Dom Capers' 1996 Carolina Panthers went 12–4 during the 1996 NFL season but lost to the Green Bay Packers in the National Football Conference Championship game of the 1996-97 NFL playoffs. That season Skrepenak helped protect the teams only Pro Bowler, quarterback Kerry Collins. Although Skrepenak missed the 1993 NFL season due to injury, Art Shell's 1993 Los Angeles Raiders went 10–6 and advanced one round in the 1993-94 NFL playoffs before losing to the Buffalo Bills. Skrepenak played offensive tackle during his years with the Raiders and offensive guard during his years with the Panthers. He has regularly played on the right side of the line.

Political career

He returned to Luzerne County, where his ancestry traces back several generations, upon retirement from football to raise his three children. He has since become involved in numerous community and political organizations and activities. He was elected to the Luzerne County Board of Commissioners in 2003 and has served as its chairman since January 6, 2004. His agenda is fighting drug abuse and crime. However, he has also earmarked $2.5 million in Community Development funding for the Wilkes-Barre Movies 14 Complex. He is also involved in bringing a new airport to . Skrepenak co-ordinates his efforts on emotional wellness with Wyoming Countymarker.

Skrepenak ran for re-election in the November 6, 2007 election. Skrepenak ran jointly with County Controller Maryanne Petrilla and the pair easily outdistanced the competition in the primary to gain the two nominations. Among the controversies during campaign were the use of debit cards for the commissioners based on a new policy effective September 2005. Skrepenak's expenses totalled $22,139.93, including $3,743 for gang-related training in , $524.08 for an accounting standards manual and $798.63 for communications equipment.

Skrepenak had considered running for Don Sherwood's United States House of Representatives seat that was contested and won by Chris Carney in the 2006 elections. He had admitted aspirations for higher office. However, after meetings with the National Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee he decided not to run for the United States Congress in the heavily Republican district. Congressman Sherwood's defeat allowed the district to go Democratic for the first time since 1961. Skrepenak was re-elected by finishing among the top three in a contest for county commissioner. The unofficial results were Maryanne Petrilla (D) 33,827 votes (29%), Greg Skrepenak (D / Inc.) 32,281 (27%), Stephen Urban (R / Inc.) 27,835 (24%) and Bill Jones (R) 24,071 (20%).

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