Mention one name…Mean Joe Greene and some will tell you about how he would play on the field, recounting times they saw him play. Others may only know him through the coca cola commercial where an angry and hurt football player returned a kind gesture of a small boy who offered up a coke, by throwing him his jersey. For those of us, who were old enough to see him play, we would argue he is probably one of the best defensive linemen in the history of the NFL. For others, well, his is a name of legend and lore.
Greene, drafted from the North Texas State University (now the University of North Texas), in 1969 by the Pittsburgh Steelers, went on to be a dominant force on a defense that had earned the name “the Steel Curtain”, one of the best defenses in NFL history. During his career, exclusively with the Steelers, he would play 181 games, accumulate 78.5 sacks and one interception. He would also accumulate four Superbowl rings and be enshrined in the NFL Hall of Fame.
After retirement as a player, Greene would go on to being a coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Miami Dolpins and the Cardinals, returning back to the Steelers organization as a special assistant for player personnel.
This past Thursday, on the South Lawn of the White House, the Steelers players and management met with the President of the United States for the second time in the past five years. Mean Joe Greene was among the individuals who was there when Steelers President Art Rooney III presented the President of the United States with a Steelers jersey, the number 44 on his back. It would be his second meeting with a sitting president if the past decade.
Come the beginning of the season, when the Steelers who were members of the 2008-09 team, are presented with their rings from SB XLIII, the former defensive tackle for the Steelers will be on hand to receive his, making him the only player in the NFL to have accumulated six super bowl rings.
This season, when many players, to include Hines Ward, Ike Taylor, James Harrison and Heath Miller, are looking to cement deals that would allow them to retire as a Steelers player, Greene’s sixth super bowl ring, represents, not only a great history of a franchise, but also the loyalty that the team and management inspires with it’s players and their fans.
For those who argue that there is no loyalty anymore, I just have to argue, you’re not looking deep enough.
News source: Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Sunday, May 31