Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Steelers announced on Wednesday that "Mean Joe" Greene's No. 75 has been retired by the franchise.
A ceremony honoring Greene to make the jersey retirement official is set to take place at Heinz Field during a Nov. 2 contest against the rival Baltimore Ravens. He will be just the second player in team history to be honored, after Ernie Stautner in the mid-1960s.
"Joe Greene is much deserving of this honor," said Steelers chairman Dan Rooney. "This isn't something you can do for everyone. He was a catalyst and to retire his number is something we feel is a special thing. I am so happy we are honoring Joe this way."
Greene, out of North Texas, arrived in the Steel City in 1969 and, over the next 13 seasons, anchored one of the most feared defensive units in league history. The "Steel Curtain" helped Pittsburgh reverse its fortunes and claim four Super Bowls from 1974 to 1979. Greene was named the NFL's top rookie in 1969, earned 10 Pro Bowl nominations and was named the league's best defensive player in 1972 and '74.
The 6-foot-4, 275-pounder started in 172 of 181 contests before hanging up his cleats after the 1981 campaign. No Steelers player has worn Greene's iconic number since then.
"I'm overwhelmed with emotions," Greene said. "I'm extremely pleased and I know that Dan (Rooney) and Art (Rooney II) put a lot of thought into making this decision. Retiring jerseys is not something that the Steelers do. That makes it even more significant."