Joe Greene Jersey

Just wondering: If Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene graduated from North Texas State this afternoon as that defensive lineman who left campus 50 years ago for the Pittsburgh Steelers with those famously nasty ways, could he play in this NFL?

Joe Greene of the Pittsburgh Steelers in pursuit of Los Angeles Rams running back Wendell Tyler during Super Bowl XIV on January 20, 1980. The Steelers won the game, 31-19. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

“Well, uh, I used the head slap that Deacon Jones started, but you can’t do that anymore, and I would go after quarterbacks below the knee, and you can’t do that anymore,” Greene said Wednesday over the phone from the University of North Texas, the new name for his alma mater in Denton. He’ll return there Friday for the presentation of a plaque in his honor as part of the “Hometown Hall of Famers” tributes across the nation presented by Ford Motor Company and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

But back to my question and Greene’s answer, especially since it led to the question I really wanted to ask.

“I also used to just hit quarterbacks in the head, and you definitely can’t do that anymore, because that’s cause for ejection,” Greene said, searching for words. “So I don’t know. I really don’t know. We had a great coach in Chuck Noll, and he played by the rules. He coached by the rules, and I don’t think anything, given my faith in him and his teaching and his beliefs, I don’t think anything would have changed. But (under these rules), I still would give it my best to play up to his teaching and his coaching.”

Would you still make the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

Greene thought a moment before he said: “Well, I don’t know. I just don’t know.”