Pittsburgh Steelers To Retire ‘Mean’ Joe Greene’s Number


August 4, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers former defensive end Joe Greene enters the 2012 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremonies at Fawcett Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

He was one of the best defensive linemen to ever play the game.  He certainly was one of the best to wear a Pittsburgh Steelers uniform.

After 33 years of hanging up the cleats and 27 years after being inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame, the Steelers will finally retire Greene’s number.

It certainly is and will be a special occasion.  The Steelers aren’t known to retire numbers.  In fact, aside from Greene’s upcoming reveal at Heinz Field, there’s only been one other member of the Black & Gold who has had the honor of their number retired from the franchise.  Ernie Stautner, who played from 1950-1963.  Stautner’s number, No. 70, was retired in 1964.

The Steelers held a press conference on Wednesday to make the announcement.  Dan Rooney and Art, Jr. made the announcement and revealed Greene’s framed jersey.  The jersey will be retired in a very fitting way.  The 2014 season marks the 40th anniversary since the Steelers won their first Super Bowl.  There will be a ceremony to commemorate that and now retire Greene’s jersey in front of what is sure to be a packed Heinz Field – the team hosts the Baltimore Ravens that evening.  Hopefully, NBC will give the moment its due and present the ceremony live on its nation Sunday Night Football broadcast.

Greene’s time with the Steelers was special.  He was Chuck Noll’s very first draft pick as the Steelers head coach.  He earned Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and never looked back.  He won all four Super Bowls with the Steelers during the era of the Steel Curtain.  He is ranked as the #13 NFL Player of All Time.  A ten time Pro Bowler.  And numerous First Team selections – both NFL and AFC.

There jersey retirement is well overdue, and I’m really happy the Steelers to do this and at such a fitting time for the organization.