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University of North Texas to unretire jersey of Steelers’ legend Joe Greene for one game

The iconic former Steeler will be honored in Denton on Saturday when his statue is unveiled outside of the stadium ahead of the Mean Green’s game against Louisiana Tech

Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

As perhaps the greatest Pittsburgh Steelers’ player of all-time, Joe Greene is one of only two names in team history to have seen their jersey number retired, but his impact on the game was not only limited to the NFL. Also considered one of the finest players to have ever donned a University of North Texas uniform, Greene is one of only four players to have had his jersey retired by the Mean Green.

In three seasons with North Texas, the Steelers’ legend led a defense that still holds a school record for the fewest total yards allowed in a season (1,821) and fewest rushing yards allowed in a season (513), averaging just 2.0 yards per rushing attempt over the time he was there. With his jersey long since retired by North Texas, no one has seen a No.75 on the field for the Mean Green in over 50 years, but it will make a reappearance on Saturday for just one game in celebration of the man who made it famous.

As part of a full day of activities that includes a home game against Louisiana Tech, a statue of Greene will be unveiled outside the stadium before kick off, and junior defensive end LaDarius Hamilton has been chosen as the one lucky enough to wear his jersey on the day. A move the team announced on social media by having the NFL Hall of Famer recreate his famous Coca-Cola advert of the late 70’s with the young player.

Speaking to Mean Green Sports earlier in the year when plans for the statue were first announced, Greene was his naturally humble self.

“I am overwhelmed by the thought of a Joe Greene statue at the University of North Texas. It is beyond my wildest expectations that the university thought enough of me as a player and a person to bestow such an honor to me and my family. It will be special for my kids, grand kids and all the generations that follow to see their father and grandfather displayed in such a manner.”

For the University, picking Greene as the player to honor in this fashion was a rather easy decision, as athletic director Wren Baker noted and reported by Kyle Bonagura of ESPN.

“For over 50 years, Joe Greene has made a tremendous impact on our university and the athletic program. As a football player, as an alumnus and as a regent, he has made significant contributions to this campus and brought great honor to the Mean Green family. He is one of the greatest defensive linemen in the history of football and he’s one of us. We are very excited to recognize Joe’s achievements and contributions with this statue.”

North Texas will wear throwback uniforms from the era when Greene played in the game and also hold a groundbreaking ceremony for a new indoor practice facility during an event labelled “Champions Weekend.”