Joe Greene today left his third job with the Steelers for a third time, and it looks as though this retirement will be permanent.
The Steelers announced that the Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive lineman has retired after nine years working for Kevin Colbert as a special assistant for pro and college personnel.
Voted by fans the best player in their history and considered their most important by team chairman Dan Rooney, Greene played all 13 of his NFL seasons for the Steelers after Chuck Noll made him his first draft pick as their coach in 1969 from North Texas State.
Archive video: A celebration of Joe Greene's career
When Joe Greene was awarded a Dapper Dan lifetime achievement award, he used the occasion to talk about Steelers Nation. (Video by Bill Wade; 5/6/2013)
Mean Joe Greene's iconic Coca-Cola commercial
The Steelers are once again saying goodbye to Mean Joe Greene, whose iconic coca-Cola commercial is a part of his legacy. (5/6/2013)
He returned to them in 1987 as defensive line coach under Noll and served in that position for five years. Colbert then hired him as his special assistant in 2004. In Greene's 27 years working for the Steelers, he earned all six Super Bowl rings.
"I was very fortunate to have worked for the Steelers, the Rooneys and Chuck. I know without a doubt the reason I got a job with Pittsburgh for coaching was because of Chuck. He trusted me as a guy who hadn't coached before and he thought I had the wherewithal to do it. I think he was right, I know he was right," Greene said, adding, "The Steelers have influenced everything I've done as an adult."
Greene said his most memorable moment with the Steelers came when they beat the Raiders in Oakland in the 1974 AFC championship game to advance to their first Super Bowl.
"That was always the highlight for me, going from 1-13 my rookie season to all the years we worked hard and really didn't get to the game ... That was just the best moment, and then we kept stacking moments on top of that, but that was the one for me.
"Winning the Super bowl was obviously a great one but the joy I felt of going to the Super Bowl, it was what I felt about the Pittsburgh Steelers and where we came from, the history of us to that point."
Said Steelers president Art Rooney in the team's announcement on Greene, "There are very few people in the history of the NFL who have had a greater impact on one franchise than Joe Greene has had on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
"As a player, Joe was the cornerstone of the greatest defense of all time. As a coach, Joe helped Chuck Noll finish his tenure as Head Coach. Then we were fortunate to have Joe rejoin the organization in our player personnel department for the last nine years, which included two more Super Bowl championships. Joe has been an inspiration in this organization in many different capacities over so many years. We will miss Joe Greene, but he will certainly continue to serve as an ambassador of this organization for many years."
Greene also coached the defensive lines with the Miami Dolphins (1992-95) and Arizona Cardinals (1996-2003) and worked briefly as an analyst for CBS Sports.
First Published May 6, 2013 9:15 PM