Monte Coleman remembers the first time he played against L.C. Greenwood.
“I very vividly remember it,” the Arkansas-Pine Bluff football coach said. “It was in 1979, my rookie year, and it was on November 4, my birthday. I remember him going in and taking control of the game.”
Greenwood and the Pittsburgh Steelers beat Coleman’s Washington Redskins 38-7 that day. The Steelers went on to win their fourth Super Bowl championship that season.
Greenwood, a legendary UAPB and Steelers defensive end, died Sunday. He was 67.
“We send our condolences to his family,” Coleman said Sunday. “Coming from Pine Bluff, and (Greenwood) playing at UAPB, I’ve always been a fan of his. Him coming to speak to my (UAPB) football team (during homecoming last year) was a very big deal to us.”
CBS Sports announced Greenwood’s death during Sunday’s coverage of the Minnesota Vikings-Steelers game in London. Greenwood, who resided in the Point Breeze suburb of Pittsburgh, died from what the Allegheny County (Pa.) Coroner reported as kidney failure, according to an article on the Steelers’ website. The article added Greenwood had back surgery at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh on Sept. 13 and remained hospitalized.
New Orleans Saints left tackle Terron Armstead, who was drafted in the third round of this year’s draft from UAPB, reacted to Greenwood’s death on Twitter.
“R.I.P. and much respect to the legend LC Greenwood!!!” Armstead wrote. “It was a pleasure meeting you. You’ve left a legacy at UAPB and in the NFL. God Bless!”
Alabama A&M coach Anthony Jones said during Monday’s SWAC teleconference that Greenwood should have been elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, adding Greenwood had a tremendous career.
“He was always trying to give input to younger people, trying to share knowledge with others,” Jones said. “That will be greatly missed.”
Born in Canton, Miss., on Sept. 8, 1946, Greenwood was the oldest of nine children, according to his biography on his personal website. He began playing football during his final two years at Rogers High School in Canton and began his own painting and small construction company while still in school.
Greenwood was named 1968 Ebony magazine All-American as a defensive lineman at what was then Arkansas AM&N College. He was part of the 1966 AM&N team that shared the SWAC championship, the only team in school history to clinch at least a share of a title until Coleman’s 2012 UAPB team won the outright SWAC crown.
Following an outstanding game against Jackson State, Greenwood was introduced to Steelers owner Art Rooney during an unorganized press conference, according to his bio. Greenwood was selected by the Steelers in the 10th round of the 1969 NFL Draft and played with the team until his retirement in 1981, winning Super Bowls in the 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1979 seasons.
At 6-feet-6, Greenwood was part of the Steelers’ “Steel Curtain” defensive line along with “Mean Joe” Greene, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White. He totaled 73.5 sacks for his professional career, including four against Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach in Super Bowl X (January 1976).
Greenwood also was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the NFL 1970s All-Decade team, but was never elected to the Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
“It’s a shame that he was never elected to the Hall of Fame,” Coleman said.
Greenwood stayed active after his playing days as a businessman, working in the construction, coal and mining, construction and corrugated packaging industries.
According to the Steelers’ website article, survivors include his children Chelsea and Fernando; sisters Shelly, Annie, Goffan, Katie and Janice; brothers Moses Jr., Henry and Michael; and two grandchildren.