LATROBE, Pa. (AP) – Joe Greene’s No. 75 now belongs to the ages.
The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday the team will retire the Hall of Fame defensive end’s number during a game against the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 2.
Greene, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1969 NFL draft, helped Pittsburgh win four Super Bowls during his 13-year career as the heart of what became the “Steel Curtain” defense. The 10-time Pro Bowler was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1987.
“I’m overwhelmed with emotions for sure,” Greene said in a statement. “That was my first thought. I was just very, very surprised and I almost fell out of my seat.”
No Steeler has worn No. 75 since Greene retired in 1981. He is the second player in team history to have his number retired. Pittsburgh retired Hall of Fame defensive lineman Ernie Stautner’s No. 70 in 1964.
Chairman Dan Rooney said the idea to honor Greene had been in the works for some time and it only seemed natural that Greene be the first of the core that turned the franchise into a dynasty in the 1970s to have his number taken out of the rotation for good.
“He was a catalyst,” Rooney said. “He was the one that did it all and so to retire his number is something that we feel is a special thing.”