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        Hall of Fame defensive lineman "Mean" Joe Greene isn't sure whether he would have thrived in the modern NFL.

        In a story published Thursday by Forbes, the Pittsburgh Steelers legend credited the NFL for taking steps to protect the health and safety of modern football players while also admitting that the vast changes to the game might have curtailed the physically that helped him reach the Hall of Fame.

        "I used the head slap that Deacon Jones started, but you can't do that anymore," Greene told Forbes"And I would go after quarterbacks below the knee, and you can't do that anymore.

        "If the defense I was playing with played the game today, we might have two guys on the field by halftime. I'm not saying we were doing things illegal. We were a very physical team, and some of the things they are calling today, we'd get ejected for it."

        More: USA TODAY Sports' Week 8 NFL picks: Do Vikings or Saints take big step forward in pursuit of Rams?

        More: Seven questions for NFL Week 8: Will Saints get back at Vikings for 'Minnesota Miracle'?

        Greene, of course, was the anchor of Pittsburgh's famous "Steel Curtain" defense in the 1970s, which helped lead the franchise to four Super Bowl titles under coach Chuck Noll. He later worked as an assistant coach for several teams before joining the Steelers' player personnel department.

        Greene stressed to Forbes that Noll made sure his teams played by the rules, so if the rules were different, he believes he would have adapted his game. But when asked by the outlet if he still would have made it to the Hall of Fame if he had been playing in the modern NFL, Greene said he wasn't sure. 

        "Still, I have to give the NFL some credit here," he told Forbes. "We're in transition. We're going from where we were to where we like to be to make the game safer, and that place now is not it. So there's going to be some rough spots, and we're in it right now."

        Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

        Related slideshow: Best of NFL season (provided by photo services) 


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