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.