Joe Greene Press Conference Transcript

The Steelers brought out their chairman, president, and director of football operations and head coach to introduce their newest scout Monday. So Joe Greene was obviously not a normal hiring, but the hiring of the foundation of one of the greatest dynasties in NFL history.

Greene played defensive tackle for the Steelers from 1969-1981. He's joining the Steelers as a special assistant/player personnel after spending the last eight seasons as an assistant coach with the Arizona Cardinals and the previous four seasons as an assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins. Greene had coached the defensive line for the Steelers from 1987-1992. Following is the full transcript from Monday's press conference:

Art Rooney II: Good morning. Thanks for joining us today. Happy we ordered up some good football weather for Joe (Greene) to come back to Pittsburgh and it is indeed a pleasure to have Joe coming back and joining the organization. He obviously is someone who has made a great contribution to the organization in two other capacities, so now he'll be joining us in a third capacity and like I said he's made great contributions to us in past years and we're looking forward to having him join us. A few people in the organization would like to come up and welcome him and first Coach (Bill) Cowher.

Bill Cowher: I just know when this was being discussed, I know the thought of Joe coming back here and I remember saying to Mr. (Dan) Rooney 'I don't see how there can be anything negative about that.' Joe Greene being on a Pittsburgh Steeler practice field and being in this building when he comes in, it only seems right, when you look about this football team, the tradition that exists. I've talked with Joe a number of times. I remember last year at a golf outing talking about personnel and the draft they just had at Arizona. He's been involved in the National Football League but I don't think there's any question that people still, when you think about Joe Greene you think about the Pittsburgh Steelers. The opportunity to have him come back here and be a part of our organization is nothing but a plus. It's a positive and I'm looking forward to seeing him around here and talking with him. He knows what this tradition means and he's been in the National Football League and I think he'll be a great attribute to our organization. So I'll turn it over now to Mr. Rooney who'll talk about the process of Joe being here today.

Dan Rooney: No, Kevin (Colbert) will go now.

Kevin Colbert: The first thing I said to Joe when I saw him this morning was that if he's going to work in the personnel department he's going to have to learn to dress down a little bit because he's too dressed to be working with us scouts. Mr. Rooney approached me about a month and a half ago and he said he'd had some talks with Joe about his future in the league and he asked me to spend some time with him at the combine just to see if there was some interest in working in the personnel department, and after having spent a couple hours with Joe, we'd had a great discussion, and I think he felt it was a time for him to make a transition from the coaching ranks into the personnel end of things. And so after some more talks with Mr. Rooney we were able to work this out. Just to give you a brief outline of what Joe will be doing with us, he will be involved in both pro personnel evaluations as well as the college evaluations. And we're very excited to have him because I like to have a balance on our staff. I like to have, if we can get an ex-coach, an ex-player, ex-college coaches, it makes for good evaluations, and in Joe we're getting someone that's not only played very well at this level, coached at this level, but is also a big part of the Steeler tradition and we're just very happy to have him back in the family. Thanks. Dan Rooney: Well, I think this is really a good, special day. When we come up with this idea, I have to say this, everybody in the organization, everybody, the whole staff, the coaches, the personnel people, the business people, everybody who'd heard it just thought it was a brilliant idea and it was really going to work. So I talked to Joe six weeks or so ago, I'm not sure. You know, said, 'What are you going to do?' And things like that. We just broached the idea of him having a career change and coming in to doing this. And he got more excited as time went on. I don't know how he was at first, but he just got more on it and then after he talked to Kevin he really got excited. I just think it's a terrific thing. We're really happy. Bill Cowher said that just having his presence around here will be a real plus. I'd just like to welcome Joe back and turn him over to you guys.

Joe Greene: Wow. Dan, Artie, Coach Cowher, Kevin, thank all of you. Thank all of you for the opportunity to come back to Pittsburgh. I'm very excited about the possibility. I'm confident I can lend something to an historically great organization. I'm proud to be a part of it. This team through the years has always been competitive, has been on the cutting edge of good things in the National Football League and I just want to be a part of it and I thank you for the opportunity to be here. Any questions? (Pause).Well good.

Q: Joe, how difficult will the transition from coaching to scouting be?
Joe Greene: Well, I guess I've been scouting since the day I got drafted by the Steelers. We came here 1-13 and I followed the draft in the papers. I called everybody because we were looking to get some help from that 1-13 season. All that time, from playing to coaching, it's players that allow you to win and help you to win, so I've always been interested in finding out who the talent was who could help you to that end. In my capacity as a coach, up front and foremost, I watched offensive linemen and offense. Also, I had to have knowledge about the defensive linemen. So when you're watching tape and you're scouting people, that's a part of what I had been doing. Obviously, the scope of that was a little narrower than what I'll be asked to do now, but the love of football and wanting to compete and put myself in the organization in the best possible position, yeah, finding the right people. So the transfer, although it is something different, I feel capable of doing that.

Q: Joe, you've worked for a couple of different teams but have always been identified with the Steelers. Did you ever feel you weren't part of the teams you were working for? Or do you need to come back down and take the red off?
Joe Greene: I thought you liked me. (Laughter). That's a good question. You know, the Steelers have been in my blood for many, many years, since the beginning. And when I went to work elsewhere, I put those groups in the forefront but the Steel blood was still there. The interest of what was going on, in terms of the won-loss record for the Steelers, was always there. My concentration and my dedication to what was at hand was with the people that I was working for, but my loyalties never wavered.

Q: Joe, when it ended --
Joe Greene: Did you like the answer?

Q: When it ended in Arizona did you still have an itch to coach? Did you have any other opportunities to coach? And would you like to coach again sometime down the road?
Joe Greene: Dan asked me that. Soon after we got fired there at Arizona, Mr. Rooney called me and said, 'What are you doing?' And I said, 'Well, I'm looking for a job.' And he said, 'Oh, don't worry about it. You'll be alright.' So I said, 'Whatever that means.' But, sure I went through the processes of finding another job in coaching, and it didn't happen. Was I disappointed? Briefly. Briefly. But I think that was overshadowed by the possibilities that were presented by Mr. Rooney to be a part of this organization. Reality hit me in the head and said, 'This is the best thing for you right now at this juncture of your life and career.' And as I said earlier I've always been excited and enthused about players. This just gives me another opportunity. Having played and having coached, and now I don't know if this is the third best or the second best or the first best or tied with all of them, but it's still football. I used to go to bed thinking about techniques; wake up thinking about techniques to help guys improve, get better. Now I'm looking at hips and feet and arms. I didn't sleep last night for thinking about those kinds of things. What do you look for? What kind of guys are you looking for? What describes a winner? So it's there. Putting it into practice, that's another step, no question about it, so we'll see. Time will tell, won't it?

Question: Do you want to be a coach again?
Joe Greene: No. Was that emphatic enough?

Question: Yes.
Joe Greene: Thank you.

Question: How much will you be on the road?
Joe Greene: That's going to be up to Kevin. I don't know.

Question: This has changed drastically since when you played.
Can you talk about that?
Joe Greene: Everyone said they moved up town. That appears so. This is a great facility. They have a lot of people working in this organization. It's a lot different than when I played. (Dan Rooney: South Park). South Park, yeah, I remember that, going through the Liberty tubes and practicing at the fire station. Times have changed and I think they've changed for the better. This organization has continued to be the best in the business and that's something that you always want, to have a chance.

Question: With all of the changes, what has allowed it to stay the same?
Joe Greene: There they are (pointing to Dan and Art Rooney II). It's the people that make the building.

Question: This city attaches to its champions, and for better or worse, lives through the past with its champions more than any other city. Symbolicly, what does your return mean?
Joe Greene: What I did in the past here just gave me an opportunity to be here today. We're talking about the present.

That's all it meant.

Question: How involved will you be in this year's draft?
Joe Greene: That's probably a better question for Kevin.

Question: Kevin, how involved will Joe be in this year's draft?
Kevin Colbert: The gameplan is from this point forward, Joe will be involved in some of the workouts at the various colleges. Being that he's coming in at such a late date, five weeks away from the draft, it'll be more of a learning observation of what we do than just overbearing him with tons of evaluations in a short period of time. He's making the transition from coaching into personel, which is not an automatic. It will take time to not only utilize his talents, but to also incorporate him into what we do and do it for the long run. He'll go to some of the workouts and be involved in our meetings more from an observation standpoint for this period of time. As we move forward and get into the summer, we'll move into the pro evaluations.

Question: Art, how symbolic do you think Joe's return is, just the name and presence he brings?
Art Rooney II: Joe has always brought a presence, there's no question about that. I think as coach Cowher mentioned, I think Joe reminds today's player of the tradtion and standards we've had in this organization for a long time. He'll be able to provide that kind of reminder. It's interesting that when you get players today, I hate to say it, they weren't even around in the '70s. So it's really great for him to be here as a reminder. They hear these names of great players we've had here in the past, but they don't always get a chance to know them. It will be great to have Joe at camp and getting to know the players. That's one thing he wants to do this week is get to know our roster and going from there. I think it will great reminder of the past.

Question: Dan, can you talk about your earliest memories of Joe?
Dan Rooney: The earliest thing I remember is that we had Joe rated very highly. He was the fourth pick in the country. The headline in the (Post Gazette) said "Joe Who?" So that got him a little bit upset. We took a little time in signing him. I remember when he walked down those steps at St. Vincent, his presence was known then. The first thing he showed was his intensity for winning. He hates me to tell this story, but I'll tell it. We were playing the Philadelphia Eagles and we needed to make a first down to keep going. It was late in the fourth quarter, I think two minutes left, and we didn't make the first down. The defense came on and he picked the ball up and threw it into the stands. He got thrown out of the game for it, but I thought it showed the intensity he had and the desire he had to win. Obviously we went on from there and won the Super Bowls and that whole team was a great team.

Question: Joe, those great Steelers teams were known not only for great physical ability, but also mental and psychological advantages. As a scout, how do you go about looking for things like that?
Joe Greene: I think that as I go back and think about our group, we were allowed to be together and have some difficult times, losing ballgames we felt we should have won. Through those difficult times, we developed the courage, stamina and mental ability to push through. When you look at players, you always have to look and see what happens when they have bad times. How do they respond to negative situations. Sometimes a good play is just a routine play, one that he should make. There's a difference between a great play and a routine play. They're all plays that need to be made, but how do you respond to that. That's something that's not always easy to detect, and those are the little things that anyone who looks are players are trying to decipher. What makes this player tick? Not always are the strongest or the quickest or the fastest players the best players. There's a littany of things you look for.

Question: Do you think you can detect those things better because you played on those great teams?
Joe Greene: I couldn't say that. You have to be a little lucky also. I think it helps, but it's not any advantage over anyone else who loves the game and can watch. I had a very good friend who told me that playing is great. Being able to teach is another aspect of it that's great. But also having a love for the game and watching people play, just like you guys do - you're not scouts, but you can see some of those guys know how to play - that's another aspect of it too. I would say that it does get deeper than that. But it is fun watching great players do great things. The tedious part is the ones who don't look so good. It's a wide spectrum. It's football and I've always loved football.


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