Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Not-so-mean Joe

THE YEAR WAS PROBABLY 1983, and Joe Greene was speaking at a sports symposium at Clemson University. My friend Jim and I went to hear Greene, who I think had just retired from the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

After the talk, Jim and I went down to the floor to get close to Greene. We wanted to hear more.

We were talking near him while he was conversing with someone else, and Greene turned and said, "What?" I told him that we didn't think he was as big in person as he seemed on TV, and he laughed heartily.

We talked with him a bit. After a few minutes, a PR guy hurried up and said, "Joe, Joe, we gotta go; we gotta go."

Greene looked around as though he wanted to leave something for us. He squared up, smiled broadly and shook hands with me.

Mean Joe didn't seem so mean at that point.

By the way, if you're wondering why he was called Mean Joe Greene, he played college ball at North Texas. They are called the Mean Green.

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