Steelers great L.C. Greenwood passes

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L.C. Greenwood

 

L.C. Greenwood, entrepreneur, active in multiple charity and community organizations, and one of the last of the Steel Curtain Defensive Line of the 1970s four Super Bowl Pittsburgh Steelers has died.

 

Greenwood passed away from kidney failure Sept. 29 in UPMC Presbyterian Hospital following a surgical procedure on his back.  He was 67 years old.

Greenwood was drafted by the Steelers out of Arkansas A&M in 1969, the same year as his line mate Joe Greene, now the only surviving member of the defensive line which headed the Steel Curtain Defense.  The Dallas Cowboys passed on him earlier, which considering the punishment the 6’6’’ 245 pound Greenwood delivered to Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach in the 1975 Super Bowl, was a big mistake in more ways than one.

Both teammates Andy Russell and Franco Harris were out of the country and unavailable for comment on the passing of their friend, but John Banaszak, who now serves as the assistant coach for the Rob??ert Morris University Colonials football team said he was extremely saddened to hear of his friend’s death.

He said they were frequent golfing buddies, and that Greenwood played golf just like he played football, with intensity and a strong desire to win.

“He was bigger than life, and the kind of guy who’s successful and does it the right way,” said Banaszak. “He had fun. He was civic oriented and generous with his time. He helped a lot of people.  I’ll always remember his huge smile, and that laugh. You always knew he was in the room. And then of course his wardrobe was unmatched. L.C. Greenwood flowed through life—and that’s a good thing.”

Greenwood, despite having career all-pro statistics, was never voted into the Hall of Fame, in all likelihood because nine of his four-time Super Bowl-winning teammates were already there along with Coach Chuck Knoll and voters got tired of seeing Steelers going in.

Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney issued a statement calling Greenwood “one of the most beloved Steelers.”

““He will be missed by the entire organization,” the statement read. “He will be forever remembered for what he meant to the Steelers both on and off the field.”

Greenwood was involved in several businesses after football. His Greenwood Enterprises, an electrical supply company, had diversified into energy supply and in March, Greenwood was named to the board of Southpointe Marcellus Shale Chamber of Commerce.

He is survived by children, Chelsea Greenwood and Fernando Greenwood; sisters Shelly Greenwood, Annie Greenwood, Goffan Greenwood Simmons, Katie

Greenwood Young and Janice Greenwood Aderhold; brothers Moses Greenwood Jr., Henry Greenwood and Michael Greenwood; and two grandchildren.
The family, which has asked for privacy, said he will “go home” to Canton, Miss., after a memorial service for him here in Pittsburgh.

 

 

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This is a 1977 file photo showing Pittsburgh Steelers football player L.C. Greenwood. (AP Photo/File)

 

Greenwood was taken in the 10th round of the 1969 NFL draft — nine rounds after Greene — out of Arkansas A&M (now Arkansas Pine-Bluff). He blossomed into a tenacious pass rusher who used his superior speed to blow past offensive tackles and into the backfield. Though sacks did not become an official statistic until after his retirement, Greenwood posted 73½ during his 13-year career.

 

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In this Oct. 28, 1979 file photo, the ball pops loose as Dallas quarterback Roger Staubach is tackled by Pittsburgh Steelers’ L.C. Greenwood during a football game in Pittsburgh.  (AP Photo/File3wld)

 

Greenwood thrived in the postseason. He sacked Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach four times in the 1976 Super Bowl, a 21-17 Pittsburgh victory.

Unlike the quiet Holmes, the intimidating White and the unparalleled Greene, Greenwood was a showman. While recovering from an ankle injury during the 1973 season, Greenwood wore a pair of high top cleats that a friend painted gold. He wore them twice — both Steelers wins — and went back to his usual cleats after the ankle healed. The Steelers lost the ensuing game, and the gold cleats soon returned.

Knee problems forced Greenwood to retire before the 1982 season. His 13 years in Pittsburgh are tied for the third-longest tenure with the team in franchise history. Greenwood remained in Pittsburgh after his retirement, working as an entrepreneur and motivational speaker.

Despite support from his teammates — including Greene — Greenwood has not been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was a finalist six times, the last coming in 2006.

 

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In this Dec. 27, 1975 file photo, Baltimore Colts wide receiver Roger Carr scampers past Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood (68) during a football game in Pittsburgh.  (AP Photo/File)

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AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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