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HE DOES WHAT HE WANTS OUT THERE
Roy Blount Jr.
September 22, 1975
In his dreams, Pittsburgh's Mean Joe Greene pushes and pulls his way past a guard, jumps six feet over the center, slaps aside another blocker, deflects the pass, catches the ball and runs 99 yards for a touchdown
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September 22, 1975

He Does What He Wants Out There

In his dreams, Pittsburgh's Mean Joe Greene pushes and pulls his way past a guard, jumps six feet over the center, slaps aside another blocker, deflects the pass, catches the ball and runs 99 yards for a touchdown

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"For him? Gravelle snapped with what seemed like real feeling. Greene came on; Gravelle, straining, held him out, held him out, held him out. Greene let up, as though beaten. Then, in a lightsome way that seemed out of keeping with the grunting and groaning that had gone on before, he spun around a relaxed Gravelle and, too late to count, tagged Radakovich's actual person.

Except in terms of who could be more whimsical, it seemed that Gravelle had won. "Gordy handled Joe pretty well, huh?" the interviewer asked the offensive linemen at the table. The offensive line blinked. "Because Joe didn't try," they said.

"He does what he wants," said Guard Gerry Mullins, who is white and was Greene's roommate on the road last year. "His hand is so big—the heel of it hits the front of your shoulder pad and you think he's pushing you back, then his fingertips grab under the back of your pad and he pulls you forward."

The offensive-line table reflected upon Greene as a gathering of mariners might reflect upon the sea. The Steeler offensive line was effective last year in large part because it felt so relieved, in games, to be blocking against defensive lines other than the Steelers'.

"Isn't that infuriating," asked the interviewer, "to have a guy beat you at his pleasure?"

"Infuriating?" said Mansfield, who won an NFL Blocker of the Year award last year and says there is nobody he can't handle one-on-one except Greene. "When Joe Greene stomps you it's not infuriating. It's more like frightening. If Joe really wants to shuck a guy.... Did you ever see a dog get hold of a snake?"

Then Greene entered. He sat at a table by himself. He was wearing a sort of misshapen big-brimmed golf hat and in the darkness it was hard to make out much of him except eyes and teeth, both of which flashed fitfully.

For some reason he began to talk about getting beat. "A black man—I say a black man, we got no corner on the market, but every day in some form or fashion you got to prove you're a man," he said.' 'But you want to keep the life-and-death situations down. I can get beat. But there's getting beat and there's getting stomped. When I start getting stomped, then I get...." Here he acted out, in subdued and semi-humorous form, his reaction to getting stomped. It was sort of a wild-eyed, spread-armed hopping around in his chair which, if extrapolated slightly, would probably propel table and interviewer across the room.

But Greene was in anything but a stomped mood. He looked fondly at the other Steelers. "These guys," he said of the offensive linemen. "We gave them hell. Called them sissies. Called them girls. But they did a job.

"Looking in the guys' faces," he said, "I see the happiness, I see the peace of mind, I see what winning that Super Bowl means for the first time.

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