Did ‘Mean Joe’ See This Coming?

GreeneBack in May, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hall of Famer ‘Mean’ Joe Greene officially retired from his duties in the team’s front office. Greene did not leave quietly and had some parting comments as he left the organization he had been with since 1969.

I went back and re-visited some of what I wrote the day after his announcement and I can’t help but wonder if his words shouldn’t have been taken more seriously in light of the Steelers’ 0-4 preseason followed by their current 0-4 start.

Greene said he became ‘frustrated’ with Steelers who made an issue of how much they were earning instead of focusing on uniting as a team to win. Green also said “In all my years of being with Pittsburgh, I never encountered a player taking a contract dispute into the season and letting that dispute affect the way he played. That’s a bad thing.”

That comment could be aimed any number of Steelers’ players in recent years who have had contract situations come up. Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders are recent examples of guys whose contracts were in great discussion but I think it goes much further than just contract issues.

Ironically, I had written an article just days before Greene’s announcement about how Steelers’ safety Ryan Clark was spending a great deal of his offseason in Bristol, Connecticut in hopes of landing a spot with ESPN when his playing career was over. I’m on record several times over as saying I don’t like the message it sends about where one’s priorities are.

Wouldn’t you know it? Guess who was ESPN again this week during the Steelers’ bye week?

I really think Mean Joe saw something he didn’t like and maybe we all should have seen it. He observed guys with goals other than what was best for the team and it frustrated him because that isn’t how he and his teammates did things. This isn’t to say guys in the 70’s didn’t have things going on the side, but when push came to shove; the success of the team came first.

So today when I see a lack of effort from Mike Adams or David DeCastro getting blown back five yards or Sanders throwing his arms up in disgust while a play is still going on I think of why Mean Joe walked away.

I really think he saw this coming and we should have too.

Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @steeldad and follow the website at @SCBlitz. He can be heard Mondays on Trib-Live Radio at 630pm ET talking Steelers.

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6 comments on “Did ‘Mean Joe’ See This Coming?

  1. I also have commented on this topic and pretty much got a negative response from other fans. This money crew thing should have been nip in the bud. It was and still is affected the TEAM. The front office has made many mistakes recently the biggest was misleading the fans about the o-line, Everyone knows it’s almost impossible to replace an entire line with 2nd year players all at once. And any coach worth his weight would bench Sanders when he throws his temper fits on the field. Any one could go on and on after the fact but the Steelers do lack leadership all the around the organization . And it’s a shame because at one point in time that’s what separated us from everyone else.

    • I think your last point is the most important Bob. Many fans want to think the Steelers are still above the fray and it isn’t true anymore. There are very few if any true leaders on this team which translates to problems on and off the field.

  2. You see this in any business. What makes the business of football any different? People are going to think of themselves first no matter what, specially when money is involved. The owners are loyal only to their bottom line, the coaches are loyal to their paycheck first an foremost and will leave a team for more $$ in a heartbeat. So why do you expect the players to be any different? A quote from GFII by Michael Corleone when discussing the attempt on his life: “our people are all business men…….. try to think the way people around you think… on this base anyything is possible”

  3. As much as all that sound true mike tomlin should have told them last year its time for yall to play for your jobs, this season should have started and finished better than last season even the superbowl should be knocking on Pittsburgh’s door after last seasons record not to say we not going cause its still early and you could never count out the Steelers, for me its time for the coach to step up the motivation not keep humble ya say we need some leadership I see three people that could change the season and that’s rothleisburger,polomalou ,and the coach as for the receivers they making Wallace look better then he is remember we had santonio Holmes before Wallace and in the superbowl he wasn’t droppingno ball how Wallace did against greenbay ,people need to understand our receivers really just need heart not just skills like Wallace we have levon Bell finally trying to put points on the board for our running game now that’s Steelers football keep that going and we should start winning game anditskey for the playoffs and superbowl if we make it ,I’m just happy we have a bye to get it together oh and welcome Levi Brown now let’s show everybody how the left tackle protects Ben

  4. I believe the Steelers have lost leadership, not on the field, but in the front office. Something or someone has changed (Ambassador Rooney, maybe?) and as an organization they seem to have taken their eye off the ball. And It is too bad too, cause for quite some time they had a formula down and come good or ill they were able to persevere and maintain an amazingly high standard. They were a team that inspired a city.
    But this sport is no longer a “Team” event and that sad state of affairs has finally infected our beloved Steelers. And that thing, that ineffable thing, that Steeler magic is gone. The question is: Can we, the members of Steeler Nation, fan the dying embers and bring back the flame? Can the team that inspired a city now in turn be inspired by it?

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