The man who famously "wasn't hired for his disposition" and was the menacing leader of the 1990's Steelers' defense -- Greg Lloyd -- speculates that he wouldn't fare too well in the modern NFL
Not his play, mind you. That would be fine.
But because of his play. That would draw fines.
"I'm pretty sure I woulda lost a lot of money," he said.
I was able to catch up with Lloyd briefly Monday morning while he warmed up for the Second Annual Black & Gold Celebrity Golf Classic at Southpointe. Sponsored by the Meadows Racetrack & Casino, and hosted by Rocky Bleier and Mike Merriweather, the event featured numerous Steelers, Pirates and Penguins greats and proceeds from the event went to the World War II Veterans of Southwestern Pennsylvania Memorial Fund, which will construct a memorial to be built on Pittsburgh's North Shore.
I'd hoped to ask Lloyd questions on a range of subjects -- post football life, his martial arts gym in suburban Atlanta, his son making the practice squad of the Philadelphia Eagles, Steelers memories -- but after he'd made offhand mention of being kicked out of his first game back from nearly a season and a half of injuries in 1988, the subject turned to the current state of the NFL -- specifically in reference to the NFL's crackdown on helmet-to-helmet hits.
This clearly struck a nerve because the extremely loquacious Lloyd talked for nearly ten straight passionate minutes on the subject, barely coming up for air, before he had to go and join his foursome. Keep in mind that this man hasn't played football for 13 years.You'd think he was gearing up for a Super Bowl rematch against the '95 Cowboys that afternoon, not a charity golf outing. James Harrison's jousting with the commissioner's office over the past year has been interesting; it seems as if Lloyd's would be epic were he still playing.
Below are excerpts of the interview, and you can listen to a condensed interview with Greg Lloyd here.
"I had my share of fines, even under Mr. Goodell (who was then president of the AFC) ... I remember hitting Brett Favre in the preseason and I got fined $20,000 for it. No flag was thrown. It was a clean hit, but because he was Brett Favre -- that was it."
"... If the rule says, here's what I can't do, I don't care who you are if you're a kid or a grownup, you're going to push the limit. You're going to push it as far as you can, without going over that limit. And then it's the call of those guys in black and white out there and not some czar who sits on top of a hill and says I am Thor and I am gonna rain down hell on you if you do this. Play the game. The commissioner never played the game. Most of those guys who are making those rules, never played the game. So I don't respect them. …"
"It's so hard to get to the quarterback and when I get back there, I gotta go "hey guy, nice to see you" [pats the p.r. man with us on the butt] -- that's not what they're paying me for. If you're paying me to knock the hell out of the quarterback and to be nasty and to be mean if I go back there and do that, I don’t have a job. So now … I'm [in] a fight between the guy who signs my check and the guy who has the ability to take money out of my pocket, so what do I do? So its kind of a Catch 22 but in my era, I'm pretty sure I woulda lost a lot of money."
"I think the league has to let the guys play the game. We put referees out on the field for a reason -- they control the game. If there's no flag thrown, let it go. … because what they do is go back and look at film, and slow it down, and the game's not played like that … so when it happens, let it happen. If a referee throws a flag, or fines me for doing something, I have to respect that. But, after its all said and done, and you think you played a good game and you find this letter sitting on your desk the next day saying that you've been fined …"
" ... Are you protecting everybody or are you just protecting quarterbacks? I don't care if a guy makes $100 million, a linebacker, a lineman are just as important to his family as these guys making $100 million dollars … our society and our country is the only country that has classes. You go to other countries, you're either rich or poor … and that's what they're starting to do in the league -- this quarterback, we want to protect him, but this linebacker -- we don't give a s--- about him ..."
"... The game is getting to the point now, where all they wanna see is offense. And I'm a defensive person. I wanna see someone get the s--- knocked out of them. People don’t go the game and go 'ooo' because someone made a catch. They go to the game and go 'ooo' because someone got the s---knocked out of 'em, regardless if its on one side or the other side. And I'm talking about legal. I'm not talking about something illegal ..."
" ... You cant tell me that [when] I go take on a running back and get ready to hit him, he ducks his head or I go to hit a quarterback and as soon as I get there, he ducks his head -- is that my fault? But they're penalizing guys for it. Its not my fault. If he sees me coming, he does what he's going to do -- little p---- get down. He's a p----. But the rules have gotten to the point to where its like, we'll just put a red jersey on [the quarterback] put him in a tutu and let him run around and do what the hell they want to do. The game is totally different now. It's just so different now than when I played."
"... How many times do you think offensive lineman get called for holding? They hold every f------ down. They call the more obvious stuff … if he doesn't get caught, it ain't a penalty until he gets caught and the referee calls it. So lets not go back and watch film and say well, they could've called this, because the referees are human too."
"You don’t want the game to be decided by a guy in a black and white shirt, so you definitely don’t want it to be decided by some guy in a booth somewhere. Or some guy sitting behind a desk who can't do what I do … go out there and play 13 years of football and knock the hell out of somebody and take on tight ends and take on 300-pound guys -- can't do it. So don't criticize what I do ..."
"I don’t condone boneheaded stupid stuff … I believe a guy has a right to protect himself. I also believe that if I have a chance to hit your quarterback in his back and have him spit up blood and p--- blood [I will], but I don't want to be fined for it because I hit him so hard …"
"The game is getting soft. Its getting softer. The worst and the hardest I got hit was in practice. The games were the easy part. Now these guys don't even practice anymore. … (who knocked you around in practice?) Dermontti Dawson & Carlton Haselrig. I went against guys I knew were beasts. And I thought if I could beat them, this guy on Sunday doesn't have a chance."