Jim O’Brien: L.C. Greenwood still working to please his father Moses
L.C. Greenwood still working to please his father Moses
By Jim O’Brien.For Pittsburgh Business Times
L.C. Greenwood has a look that says he knows something you don’t know. He is still a formidable figure, at 6-6 ½ and 240 to 250 pounds – don’t forget that ½ inch even though he probably lost it after he turned 60 – but he has a warm smile and a laugh that is more of a deep-throated chortle. His manner makes one comfortable in his company.
He is 66 now, wiser than ever, and the one thing he is not going to tell you is what L.C. stands for. It’s his little secret.
The Super Bowl will soon be played, alas without the Steelers this season, and it will be a reminder that Greenwood was one of the stalwarts of The Steel Curtain defensive unit of the Steelers that helped secure six division championships and four Super Bowl titles in a six-year span in the ‘70s when the Steelers ruled the National Football League.
Greenwood is reminded every morning when he gets out of bed of those glory days. “My back is all messed up,” said Greenwood, as he sat across the table at The Club at Nevillewood in Presto, Pa. “I’ve had 15 back surgeries and I will probably need another before too long.”
He wasn’t able to play golf this year, but he still showed up to mix with former teammates and the paying customers.
Greenwood loves to play golf and he gets invited to the biggest celebrity golf outings in the country because he was good enough to be named All Pro twice and played in six Pro Bowls and, better yet, mixes well with the field. He was credited with 73.5 sacks and 14 fumble recoveries in 13 seasons (1969-1981). Knee injuries forced his retirement right before the 1982 season.
He did some national TV commercials in those Miller Light ads that featured former NFL stars, and he still gets some local commercials to help peddle diamond jewelry.
He gets gigs at this time of year to meet and greet at corporate parties or conferences, as does former teammates Andy Russell, Jack Ham, Mike Wagner and Rocky Bleier.
Ham and Joe Greene, who flanked Greenwood on the left side of the Steelers’ defensive unit, have both gone on record to say that L.C. belongs in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He came close but failed to garner enough support in his 15 years of eligibility.
He can still make it, on a special veterans’ committee nomination, the way former Steelers such as Jack Butler and John Henry Johnson were eventually inducted.
L.C. Greenwood has kept an office on West Main Street in Carnegie since his playing days. He used to operate Greenwood Enterprises there and was associated with Monaloh Basin Engineers. They were involved in engineering, highway work, coal, natural gas and you name it.
Now his company is called Greenwood-McDonald Supply Co., Inc., a supplier of electrical equipment to manufacturers and retail outlets.
His long-time partner Jim McDonald of Washington, Pa., calls Greenwood “patient, humble, cautious and quiet. What you see is what you get when it comes to L.C.” Greenwood’s office is sparsely furnished, but there are framed prints of pro football players on the wall behind his desk. He has a secretary-receptionist fielding his phone calls.
Greenwood still stands out in a crowd even when he’s not wearing gold Nike shoes as he often did during his playing days with the Steelers. He was known as a flashy dresser and Pittsburgh broadcaster Myron Cope used to conduct “dress-offs” in the Steelers locker room between Greenwood and John “Frenchy” Fuqua, famous for his involvement with Franco Harris in “The Immaculate Reception” and for donning capes and having goldfish in the heels of his shoes.
L.C. grew up in Canton, Mississippi and never dreamed of ever being glorified in Canton, Ohio at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He went out for football in high school mostly to get away from the constant chores that awaited him at home.
“My dad wasn’t satisfied unless I was working all the time,” allowed L.C. “My dad (Moses Greenwood) left home at 6 in the morning, and he didn’t get back until 6 in the evening. And then, after dinner, he’d leave the house and go work somewhere else from eight to midnight. Plus, he kept a farm for us, and he was a lay preacher on weekends. Football wasn’t important. Keeping the family fed was.”
Jim O’Brien’s new book is called “Immaculate Reflections.” His website is www.jimobriensportsauthor.com