Pittsburgh Steelers defensive legend L.C. Greenwood, one of the major cogs in the iconic “Steel Curtain” defense that powered them to four Super Bowls in the 1970s, has died. He was 67.
Greenwood made up one-fourth of the formidable, impenetrable and feared Steelers defensive line — that starred Greenwood, “Mean” Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White — that, along with Jack Lambert, Jack Ham, Mel Blount and Donnie Shell, helped transform a pathetic franchise into a dynamic dynasty that won an unprecedented four Super Bowls in six years, including back-to-back on two occasions in the mid- and late 70s. Three Rivers Stadium became a house of horrors for opposing offenses for an entire decade.
“L.C. was one of the most beloved Steelers during the most successful period in team history and he will be missed by the entire organization,” Chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement. “He will forever be remembered for what he meant to the Steelers both on and off the field.”
The flamboyant Greenwood was a showman who was known for donning gold spikes with his uniforms, something that would get him fined in today’s NFL.
Ironically, Greenwood was born in Canton, Miss. on Sept. 8, 1946, but when it came time for him to be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, he never got past being a finalist, the last time in 2006, despite the campaigning of more famous teammates such as Greene.
Greenwood was drafted out of the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the 10th round in 1969 and became a full-time starter in 1971 when the Steelers were the perennial jokes of the NFL. He was a six-time Pro Bowl player and an All-Pro in 1975 and ’76, the two years that began that Steelers’ dynasty that’s remembered to this day.
He retired after 13 years and remained in the Pittsburgh area, becoming an entrepreneur and motivational speaker.
His admirers, and even former enemies, converged on Twitter to bid adu a gridiron great. Take a look at what they had to say: