Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin knows what Joe Greene means to the Steelers organization. And he knows what it meant to be a part of the announcement that Greene's No. 75 will be retired during a ceremony on Nov. 2 at Heinz Field when the Steelers play the Baltimore Ravens.
Tomlin, along with General Manager Kevin Colbert, pulled the cover to unveil Greene's jersey during a press conference at Saint Vincent College, and being a part of that wasn't lost on Tomlin.
"I appreciate the fact that I don't miss those moments," said Tomlin. "I have enough awareness to know we are in a special place, at a special time, honoring a special man and player. It's something that is humbling and awesome to be a part of."
Tomlin and Greene have a strong bond that developed during Greene's tenure with the team's player personnel department. Tomlin often picked his brain, knowing that Greene is a wealth of football information.
"He can always relate present circumstance to a time when they were building, a time when they were defending," said Tomlin. "He's got an awesome perspective and he is awesome living history in regards to things that are not only important to this team, but elements of football that are important."
Greene, who was former Coach Chuck Noll's first draft pick ever in 1969, came in and helped change the Steelers from a team struggling to win to four-time Super Bowl champions.
The greatest photos of Joe Greene from the archives.
"It's awesome to be a guy that drops a stake in the ground and decides you are going to change the culture, you are going to do something that hasn't been done," said Tomlin. "It's trailblazing. It's an honor to say that we know him. It's funny. He has such a quiet manner and matter of fact way about him now. It's amazing. It's just goes to show normal people are capable of extraordinary things with the proper focus and dedication. That is something he lived by."
Tomlin heard a lot of stories about the 1970s Steelers from Greene, and he wants to share stories about Greene's playing career with his two sons, Mason and Dino, making sure they know about the great history of the organization.
"The stories need to be told and received," said Tomlin. "Stories like his are not only building bonds for football, but just society. That is what America is about."
And he expects when the Steelers and Ravens play in November that Heinz Field will be packed with black and gold, and plenty of No. 75 jerseys.
"I am sure it will be," said Tomlin. "I will probably be a little bit distracted, but excited for him and honored to be a part of it."