´ Steel Curtain Rising: Greg Lloyd Jr.’s Shot at NFL Glory Begins Where Father’s Ended

Who gets the game ball for the Steelers win over the Texans?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Greg Lloyd Jr.’s Shot at NFL Glory Begins Where Father’s Ended

Sometimes similarities become too strong to ignore.

The fact that for the first time in 13 years Greg Lloyd will play linebacker for a pro football team in Pennsylvania qualifies as one of those.

That Greg Lloyd of course is not the legendary Steelers linebacker from the 1990’s, but his son, Greg Lloyd Jr.

Consider some of the congruences:
  • Both Lloyds are linebackers
  • Hailing for Ft. Valley State and UConn, neither hails from a college football super heavyweight
  • Both men were drafted with their team’s second seventh round pick
  • Both Lloyd’s suffered knee injuries that they had to/will have to overcome during their rookie years
So far we have a warm and fuzzy story of son following in father’s footsteps, albeit at the other end of the PA Turnpike.

But there’s a rub.
  • The Lloyd’s are estranged, resulting for a bitter divorce followed by accusations, explanations, and counter accusations detailed in the Post-Gazette and in Jim Wexell’s book Steelers Nation.
This tension between father and son make this next juxtaposition all the more jarring:

  • Greg Lloyd Jr.’s shot at NFL glory in the same place where his father’s ended.
A Linebacker Struck Down in His Prime...

Greg Lloyd as Steelers fans know, seriously injured his knee on a hot and humid opening at the height of the Steelers-Jaguars rivalry in 1996.

Lloyd rehabbed with vigor and was back in 1997, but was slow to regain his old form.

Some even suggested Lloyd had lost it. But Lloyd revved it up by mid-season, registering a sack in consecutive games heading into an intra-state, inter-conference shown down vs. the Eagles at Veteran’s Stadium.

Greg Lloyd quickly made it three consecutive games, sacking Bobby Hoying early in the first quarter. The next time the Eagles had the ball, Lloyd was back at it again, terrorizing the Eagle’s backfield.

No sooner did I proclaim to the assembled host at Baltimore’s Purple Goose Saloon, “Greg Lloyd is back!” than did Lloyd lunge at the Hoying but miss and slide.

The play ended. Lloyd failed to get up. It was his leg again, this time his ankle, and a scrape with the turf gave him a staph infection which cost him 20 pounds. He never wore a Steelers uniform again, and played one more season as a situational pass rusher for Carolina.

Lloyd never got a shot at another Super Bowl and, with injury striking him down while he was still in his prime, he’ll likely never be considered for the Hall of Fame.

Poignancy in Being Picked By Philly?

And that brings us back to Greg Lloyd Jr.

Who knows if he’ll ever equal or surpass his father on the football field? He faces long odds but, then again, no linebacker from Ft. Valley State was ever supposed go to five straight Pro Bowls.

The similarities between the two Lloyd’s situations are almost too startling to be over ruled as coincidence. But Lloyd Jr.’s selection by Philly along with their reported estrangement punctuate the situation with a certain poignancy

Regardless, Steel Curtain Rising wishes Greg Lloyd Jr. success – as long as it does not come at the expense of the Steelers.

Thanks for visiting. Click here to check out the rest of Steel Curtain Rising. Or, click here to follow this site on Twitter.

4 comments:

Tony D said...

Good post. I was kind of sad how Lloyd's career with the Steelers ended. In '96, when Chad Brown was taking over for an injured Lloyd and having a monster year and up for free agency, I figured it would be okay to let Brown walk. The Steelers had Lloyd under contract and I thought he'd still have a few good years left in the tank. You know what they say about hindsight.

KT said...

Tony,

Fair point about Brown. A lot of people made the argument that they should dump Lloyd and keep Brown.

I disagreed at the time, simply because Lloyd was Lloyd. He wasn't the athlete that Brown was, but he was more of a force.

My contention has always been what it was that last day watching him at the Vet.

Greg Lloyd was back by mid-1997.

Seeing him felled by injury again was not easy.

Thanks for the commentary.

Travellr said...

Thanks for the info. I, too hated seeing #95 leave, injury or not. He had picked it up by mid-1997; I remember that the staph infection put him in the hospital, but the team, as usual, never specified what the injury was until after the season, kept him on the roster, and week after week left the door open that he might be returning. I always thought he could have played for the Steelers several more years -- remember that at this time they released Kirkland, Woodson, K. Greene, Chad Brown too, long before they were done playing. I remember seeing Lloyd at Three Rivers in a panthers uniform doing what he'd done before every game he'd played there. He'd come out in football pants and t shirt and walk by himself slowly around the edge of the field, looking up at the stands when only the kickers were out warming up. He'd walk slowly and with a kind of controlled force, and he did the same thing when he showed up there as a Panther. I always thought the look on his face was regretful and wounded. I know I hated seeing him in those blue football pants. Good luck to GL Jr, who is on Phillies practice squad and earing #96.

KT said...

Thanks Travellr,

I had not realized that Lloyd came back to TRS for a preseason game vs. Carolina.

Honestly, I don't think Lloyd could play anymore. At Carolina he became a third down player, and didn't do much. Sadly, it was the end of the line.

That's unfortuante, because as you say, he did return to form just before the second injury.

I think he had a couple of three years left of top-level performance. Thanks for the info on Greg Lloyd Jr. I didn't know if he'd made the team or not.