Monday, September 30, 2013

R.I.P. L.C Greenwood

On a day the Steelers lost merely a game, Steeler Nation lost something much more treasured: a beloved family member.

L.C. Greenwood was one of a kind. He was, and always shall be, a core Steeler spirit.

L.C. Greenwood
Greenwood died yesterday of natural causes.

Hollywood Bags carried with him a presence, an aura and a majesty befitting his stature as an original Steel Curtain Legend. He had style, and he let the world know it, and not only with those gold-toned high-topped shoes.

Why the nickname? Wikipedia's L.C. Greenwood page says, "Greenwood was called “Hollywood Bags” because he claimed he kept his bags packed and ready so he could leave for Hollywood at a moment's notice"

More importantly, without L.C. Greenwood, there would have been no Steeler Dynasty.

Even before the Steelers started winning Super Bowls, Greenwood established himself as a fixture and inspirational leader on those upstart teams of the 1970s.  Playing alongside Joe Greene, Ernie Holmes and Dwight White, Greenwood bookended the Steel Curtain's front line of defense.

At 6'6" and a lean 245 pounds, Greenwood was imposing, fierce, quick, mobile, agile and hostile. He was what an NFL defensive end was supposed to be.

L.C. Greenwood vs. Minnesota in Super Bowl IX
More than that, Greenwood was an inspiring, relentless force, and he always showed up in the biggest games. Just ask Fran Tarkenton and Roger Staubach, the Hall of Fame quarterbacks whom Greenwood tortured during legendary performances in Super Bowls IX and X, Pittsburgh's first two Super Bowl triumphs.

Greenwood could have been named MVP of either game.  He sacked Minnesota's Tarkenton twice, including for a safety, knocked down three of his passes and chased him ceaselessly. The following year, Hollywood Bags sacked Dallas's Staubach four times.

Those were just two highlights of countless sterling performances during his long career. Off the field, Greenwood exemplified Steeler pride. He was a character -- during his playing days, and afterwards, when he was an Ambassador for the Steeler Nation and a go-to guy for quotes, remembrances and just to have his presence at Steeler reunion games and other major events.    

Now, only Joe Greene remains from the original front line of the Steel Curtain. Dwight White, Ernie "Fats" Holmes, Steve Furness and now, L.C. Greenwood -- all gone to that gentle home in the sky.

Heaven has a special place for those high-topped gold-tone shoes.  Rest in peace, L.C. Henderson Greenwood.

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