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NFL community reacts to Chuck Noll's death

  • By NFL.com
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Legendary Steelers coach Chuck Noll passed away on Friday night at his home outside Pittsburgh. It didn't take long for the NFL community to react to the Hall of Fame coach's death.

Players from Noll's 70s dynasty teams -- the decade in which Noll led the Steelers to a record four Super Bowl wins -- were esepcially effusive in praising their former coach's lessons of mental preparation and responsibility. Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw likened Noll to a paternal figure.

"He's kind of like a father from whom you want approval and you don't quite get it," Bradshaw said in a statement, "and in the advent of that journey you work harder and harder, you try to get better and better, and then when it's all said and done he says, 'Thank you. You were a great quarterback.' And you say, 'Wow!'"

Hall of Fame wide receiver John Stallworth reminisced on how Noll sparingly doled out compliments. When he did, "It was always special to me when he said John Stallworth did something well." A major lesson Noll handed down: "You've never arrived," Stallworth said, "you never get to the point where you are the best you can be, and you should admit you are always striving to be better and to get better ..."

Hall of Fame tackle Joe Greene reflected back on the very beginning of Noll's tenure with the Steelers -- when the team finished 1-13 in Noll's inaugural campaign but the coach remained adamant about his beliefs. "Somewhere around the third year I started to see that if we did what he said, then we would win," Greene said. "And if we didn't do it then we wouldn't win. And I became a believer, even before we started to win. I saw the consistency in him and became a believer because of what he said and it became clear that how he was coaching us was the right way." 

Perhaps Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham summed up Noll's impact best: "With all the great players -- Bradshaw, (Lynn) Swann, Franco (Harris), (Jack) Lambert, Greene -- we don't win championships without Chuck," Ham said. "He was the glue. He was the guy that got all of us to buy into how to win a championship."

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