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Steelers Draft Central

Greene: 'I missed the boat on that'

Posted Apr 13, 2018

Joe Greene recalls the day the Steelers drafted him.

From now until the NFL Draft, we will be bringing you memories from current and former Steelers players about what the NFL Draft was like for them. It's being kicked off with the draft pick who changed it all for the Steelers, Joe Greene.

Joe Greene – First Round – 1969 – University of North Texas

He was the fourth overall selection in the 1969 NFL Draft, but when Joe Greene was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers, he wasn’t a happy camper.

Greene knew the Steelers were able to pick him because they weren’t a good team. They hadn’t been a good team for years. And all he wanted was to go to a winner.

So when he learned it was the Steelers that drafted him, he was disappointed. Looking back, though, he knows he should have felt differently because it was a move that changed his life. His rookie year the Steelers won only one game, but after that things changed. And it was Greene who got the change started.

Greene shared his thoughts on his NFL Draft day reaction, and where his love of football stemmed from.

“You know. I missed the boat on that,” said Greene. “I was the fourth player chosen that year and I just was unhappy. It should have been the happiest day of my life up until that point, after getting married and having kids. It is a wonderful thing for a lot of young men that have pursuing this day all their lives, ever since they could hold a football, much like myself.

“I started watching, my first game I can recall was the Championship Game in 1958 it was the (Baltimore) Colts and the (New York) Giants. After that I was hooked. I watched game after game after game. I would leave our game to go home and watch other games. When I started off watching, I watched Jim Brown and Gale Sayers and people that carry the football. I thought that was so cool getting to carry a football and I kind of outgrew that. Then Deacon Jones, and Bob Lily with the Dallas Cowboys and Bob was very quick off the line of scrimmage and that’s something I tried to emulate getting off the line of scrimmage quick and beating the guard before he got out of his stance. It served me well. I think I learned how to play watching those guys. I enjoyed football.”