DL Ernie Holmes, a key member of Pittsburgh’s Steel Curtain defense, playing alongside Mean Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood, Jack Ham, Jack Lambert, Andy Russell and Dwight White, was killed last night in a traffic accident in Lumberton, TX. Holmes, 59, was remembered by his former teammates, as quoted by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ed Bouchette.
“Ernie came through lot of struggles and it looked like he was out ahead of it and living the way he wanted to live his life,” Greene said this morning. “Oh, Ernie was definitely an enforcer. I suspect that a lot of guys were kind of afraid of him, not so much what he did on the field but what they read about him off the field. He’d probably do anything to win.
“We’re going to miss ol’ Ernie, we’ll miss him a lot.”
Mr. Holmes was a two-time All Pro drafted by the Steelers in 1971 after playing at Texas Southern. He played 81 games for the Steelers from 1972 through 1977 and finished his career with one year in New England.
Jack Ham also remembered Holmes as a great player.
“That run we had in ’74 and through the playoffs and our first Super Bowl, he just had a dominating performance, especially against Gene Upshaw and the Raiders in Oakland in the AFC championship game. I think they rushed for 29 yards in that game. It was the most dominating performance against a great offensive line. He’s a big reason why we ended up winning that game.
“And what they did against Minnesota [in SB IX], the entire front Four!
“Joe Greene got a lot of attention and rightfully so, but Ernie was a great football player. We all knew it on the team.”