The Steelers will have five representatives heading into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August. Between those five, there are two starkly different eras. On one hand, there is the era of the 1990s through the 2000s where Bill Cowher, Alan Faneca, and Troy Polamalu all overlap. Then, there are the remnants of the Steel Curtain era Steelers still pushing their way through with Bill Nunn and Donnie Shell.
However, there is one notable name from the Steel Curtain era that has still not heard his name called. Steelers defensive end L.C. Greenwood, who in a recent Pro Football Reference study was revealed to lead the Steel Curtain in sacks, is often mentioned as one of the top 1970s players that still are not in Canton. Greenwood’s 78 sacks were the most on that Steelers defensive line, and rank second-most in Steelers history only behind James Harrison.
In a call with the media on Wednesday, Shell was asked what it would mean for his teammate in Greenwood, who died in 2013, to get the honor one day to be in Canton.
“It would be a tremendous award for his family and for his teammates,” Shell said.
However, just what would make Greenwood worthy of that honor? Shell says it is the fact that Green was so unusual for his size and offenses feared him both from a run defense and pass rush perspective.
“L.C. was very unusual,” Shell said. “He was about 6-foot-8, 260 pounds, but you can remember we played a 4-3 defense, and he was just as good of a run defender as a pass rusher.”
The process and push for Greenwood are likely to get even stronger with the foresight of his total sack numbers now. In an era where running the ball was a focal point, Greenwood’s 78 sacks are serious impressive, and it would not be surprising to see Greenwood get his name called in the coming years.