Two of the iconic players in our sport had large statues dedicated in their honor at their college alma maters last weekend.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene (above) was on campus at the University of North Texas (formerly North Texas State when Joe played there from 1966-68) where he joined hundreds of former teammates, friends and family in his honor. The Steelers four-time Super Bowl Champion smiled as the 8-foot statue was unveiled right outside Apogee Stadium.
“It’s beyond my wildest expectations that the university thought enough of me as a person and a player to bestow such an honor,” says the mild-mannered 10-time Pro Bowler. “It will be special for my kids, grandkids and all the generations that follow to see their father and grandfather displayed in such a way.
“We had a great game defensively in my first varsity game in ‘66. That’s when our fans started the ‘Mean Green, you look so good to me’ chant,” Mean Joe recalled with a laugh.
In a more somber setting, a statue in honor of the late 1959 LSU Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon was first seen by the public last Saturday. A large public ceremony was cancelled at the last minute when a 20-year old LSU basketball player was murdered minutes from the Tigers campus early Friday morning. A private unveiling was held without fanfare Friday evening and the public saw the statue on Saturday outside Tiger Stadium on game day.
Cannon was a Houston Oilers top draft choice in 1960 and later played as running back-tight end for the Raiders and Chiefs until he retired after the 1970 season. He was a three-time AFL Champion. After his playing career, he became a dentist in his home state. He died last May at the age of 80.
We at NFL Alumni salute two of our most successful on-field members.