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Greene: 'I was completely overwhelmed'

Posted Aug 5, 2014

Joe Greene was emotional when he learned his No. 75 was going to be retired. Greene and some of his HOF teammates weigh in on it.

When Hall of Famer Joe Greene heard the news from Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney and President Art Rooney II that the team was going to retire his No. 75 jersey, he admitted he was “floored.” It’s no wonder, as it’s only the second time in the 82 year history of the team that it’s been done.

“My first reaction was wow,” said Greene. “I am glad I was sitting down. I said thank you. Thank you so much. I was completely overwhelmed.  Because it hadn’t been done in such a long time and there was no other player other than Ernie (Stautner) who experienced what I am about to experience, it is indeed special.”

Stautner had his No. 70 retired in 1964, but it’s been 50 years and plenty of Hall of Famers since who have come and gone before this historical decision was made.

“I think he is the guy that deserves it,” said Mel Blount, Greene’s teammate in the 70s and a Hall of Famer himself. “Personally I don’t think there should be any other numbers retired because it diminishes the meaning of retiring the number. I am really happy for Joe and I think the Rooneys did the right thing. In my personal opinion I think that should be it.”

Greene will have his number retired when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field on Nov. 2, and he joked that he didn’t even realize it was the Ravens the Steelers would be playing that night, but it certainly is appropriate.

“It reminds me of the days during my playing career when the big games were always against division opponents, that would be Cleveland, Cincinnati and Houston,” said Greene. “During that time it could have been any one of them. It is a division game and they are always highly contested.”  

Since Greene retired in 1981 the Steelers have not issued No. 75 to any player. The same is the case for Hall of Fame running back Franco Harris’ No. 32, but Harris firmly believes that Greene’s should be the only retired jersey to represent what was a magical time in Steelers’ history.  

“To have his jersey retired is like a little icing on the cake for our team, our decade,” said Harris. “You look at the 70s, 80s, and I just see one jersey and that jersey is Joe Greene. That one jersey represents all of us. To me that is not just Joe Greene’s jersey; that is our jersey and we all share in that.”

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