clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Throwback Thursday: Remembering the controversial Steelers TE Eric Green

In the early 1990s, the Pittsburgh Steelers had one of the most dominant tight ends in the NFL. A man by the name of Eric Green.

Mike Powell/Getty Images

In the 1990 draft the Pittsburgh Steelers selected an athletic tight end from Liberty University with the 21st overall pick. That tight end was Eric Green. Green was a polarizing player from the moment his name was announced on draft day, as he had a 54-day contract hold out which caused him to miss all of training camp, the preseason and even the opening game of the 1990 season.

Green threatened to sit out the entire season, but eventually signed after the first game of the season. The Steelers didn't put Green in the lineup until Week 5, and when he was inserted into the lineup the offense finally started to move. This was a dismal offense who didn't score a touchdown until Green entered the lineup. The quarterback throwing passes in his rookie season? None other than Bubby Brister.

It was his rookie year when "Mean" Joe Greene was coaching the defensive line was quoted by saying, "Without Eric Green, we might not have scored a touchdown last year." Green would score 7 touchdowns as a rookie in that 1990 season.

Green's career only got better in the 4 years he was with the Steelers. He made two Pro Bowls while donning the black and gold, in 1993 and 1994. This after being suspended for six games in 1992 for what most believe to be steroid use. Green's best statistical season was in 1993 when he caught 63 passes for 942 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Following his near 1,000 yard receiving performance, Green again decided to hold out before the 1994 season, but signed a $1.4 million dollar contract for one year, and turned down a $10 million multi-year contract to guarantee free agency after the 1994 season. Green got his wish and become a member of the Miami Dolphins for one year before joining the Baltimore Ravens for three season. He would end his career after a one-year stint with the New York Jets in 1999.

Green was controversial, but was one of the first big athletic tight ends to play in the NFL. At 6-foot 5-inches, 290-pounds, Green's athleticism was nearly unmatched even at the NFL level. With the athleticism came controversy, whether it was the holdouts or the suspension, but Green was certainly one of the best tight ends to wear a Steelers uniform.