Pittsburgh Steelers great L.C. Greenwood dies Sunday

staubach-greenwoodOne of the pillars of the Steel Curtain defense from the 1970s, L.C. Greenwood passed away just before noon on Sunday from kidney failure at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital according to the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office. The resident of Point Breeze was 67.

Greenwood was a six-time Pro Bowler and two-time all-pro who played for the Steelers from 1969 to 1981. He teamed with Joe Greene, Dwight White, and Ernie Holmes to forge a front four that helped the Black and Gold win an unprecedented four Super Bowls in a six year span.

In 1969, the Steelers took defensive tackle Joe Greene from North Texas State in the first round of the National Football League Draft, and then nine rounds later, selected Greenwood in the 10th round from Arkansas AM&N, now Arkansas-Pine Bluff.

The 6-foot-6, 245 pound defensive end registered 73 1/2 career sacks, which ranks second in team history behind Jason Gildon. The total is unofficial, because the NFL did not record sacks as an official statistic until 1982.

During the regular season, No. 68 was a player that offensive coordinators needed to account for as he had five fumble recoveries in 1971, which tied for the NFL lead and in 1974, he put up a career high 11 sacks.

Greenwood showed everyone why he was one of the all-time greats in the post season, when he knocked down two of Fran Tarkenton’s passes in the Steelers’ 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings in their first Super Bowl appearance back in 1975. He helped Pittsburgh get a 21-17 victory in the 1976 Super Bowl, when he sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach four times.

It was knee problems that forced Greenwood to hang up his Black and Gold jersey for good back in 1982. His 13 years in Pittsburgh are tied for the third longest tenure in team history.

Steelers chairman Dan Rooney and president Art Rooney II issued a joint statement, calling Greenwood “one of the most beloved Steelers during the most successful period in team history. He will be missed by the entire organization. He will be forever remembered for what he meant to the Steelers both on and off the field.”

Survivors include his two children, Chelsea Greenwood and Fernando Greenwood; five sisters Shelly Greenwood, Annie Greenwood, Goffan Greenwood Simmons, Katie Greenwood Young and Janice Greenwood Aderhold; three brothers Moses Greenwood Jr., Henry Greenwood and Michael Greenwood; and two grandchildren.

Despite support from his teammates, coaches, and ownership, Greenwood has not been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. He was a finalist six times, the last coming in 2006. There had been a movement in recent years to get him into the Hall of Fame via the seniors committee.

Tags: L.C. Greenwood Pittsburgh Steelers Steel Curtain

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