“Mean” Joe Greene will become the second player in Pittsburgh Steelers history to have his number officially retired when the leader of the team’s “Steel Curtain” defense of the 1970s is honored in a Nov. 2 ceremony.
Greene, 67, a Hall of Fame defensive tackle who helped the Steelers win four Super Bowl titles and reach the conference championship game six times, will join Ernie Stautner (No. 70) as the franchise’s only players to have their numbers retired.
The Steelers, who have won a record six Super Bowls, retired Stautner’s number in 1964. The numbers for Greene (75), quarterback Terry Bradshaw (12), running back Franco Harris (32) and linebacker Jack Lambert (58) haven’t been used by the team since they retired from the National Football League.
Pittsburgh’s first Super Bowl title came in 1975.
“Coming up on the 40th anniversary of the first Super Bowl, we felt it was a perfect time,” Steelers President Art Rooney said yesterday in a statement. “When you look at the 1970s there are a lot of different words that have been used to describe what Joe meant to that team -- cornerstone, heart of the team. It was the right time to do it and Joe obviously is the right, first person from that team to have his number retired.”
Greene, who spent his entire 13-year NFL career in Pittsburgh from 1969 through 1981, said he was surprised and honored by the team’s decision. The ceremony will be held during a Nov. 2 home game against the Baltimore Ravens.
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