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Steelers notebook: NFL legend Greene retires

| Monday, May 6, 2013, 5:42 p.m.

Joe Greene is saying goodbye to the Steelers for the third and final time.

Greene, the Hall of Fame defensive tackle who was the foundation of the famed Steel Curtain defense of the 1970s, has retired from the Steelers' player personnel department. The announcement was made Monday.

Greene, 66, spent the past nine seasons as a special assistant for pro and college personnel for general manager Kevin Colbert. He joined the Steelers in part because owner Dan Rooney wanted one of the figurehead players in franchise history more actively involved with the team following his retirement as a longtime NFL assistant coach.

Considered to be one of the best defensive linemen in NFL history, he anchored a defense that still is widely acknowledged to be the greatest in league history. He was a 10-time Pro Bowl player and an eight-team All-Pro selection from 1969-81, and he was chosen by as the 13th-best player in league history.

Greene was the Steelers' defensive line coach from 1987-91. He held the same job with the Dolphins from 1992-95 and the Cardinals from 1996-2003 before retiring as a coach and rejoining the Steelers.

“There are very few people in the history of the NFL who have had a greater impact on one franchise than Joe Greene has had on the Pittsburgh Steelers,” team president Art Rooney II said in a statement. “As a player, Joe was the cornerstone of the greatest defense of all time. As a coach, Joe helped Chuck Noll finish his tenure as head coach. Then we were fortunate to have Joe rejoin the organization in our player personnel department for the last nine years, which included two more Super Bowl championships.

“Joe has been an inspiration in this organization in so many capacities over so many years.”

Greene said he will miss “everyone in the Steelers organization.”

“When I played, our success was based on the people there — the players, coaches and front office — and I felt the same way when I was in scouting,” Greene said in a statement. “The people were very important to me, brought me along and made me feel comfortable, and I thought we made a pretty good team together.”

Greene was the first player drafted by the Steelers after coach Chuck Noll's hiring in 1969. He quickly became pivotal to the team's turnaround from being the NFL's worst team to its best.

That transformation continued with the drafting of players such as Terry Bradshaw, Franco Harris and Lynn Swann and peaked with four Super Bowl wins in six seasons from 1974-79.

Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987.

Whimper comes aboard

Guy Whimper, an offensive tackle who in his seven-year NFL career has played for the Giants and Jaguars, signed Monday.

The Steelers are in need of offensive line depth after failing to bring back tackle Max Starks and backup Doug Legursky.

Whimper was a fourth-round pick by the Giants in 2006 and played for them for four seasons, including their 2007 Super Bowl winning team. He played for Jacksonville for the past three seasons.

The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Whimper has started 22 of 67 career games.

The Steelers also signed undrafted free-agent rookie linebacker Terence Garvin of West Virginia. He attended their rookie minicamp last weekend on a tryout basis.

Garvin had 10 12 sacks in 47 games at West Virginia.

The Steelers released rookie center Ivory Wade and rookie defensive tackle Anthony Rashad White.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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