Pittsburgh Steelers great Joe Greene told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he is disappointed that money has changed the franchise's players.
"The scary thing is that players have a one-upsmanship about money; they sign a contract and they like it until someone signs a bigger one and now they don't like it. I don't like that," Greene, who retired this week from his front-office job with the team, told the newspaper.
"I don't begrudge anyone money but it disrupts the football team. The scary thing is that players have a one-upsmanship about money; they sign a contract and they like it until someone signs a bigger one and now they don't like it. I don't like that."
Steelers safety Ryan Clark, working this week as a guest analyst for ESPN, said there's a lot of truth to what Greene said.
"The things he is saying, they're not off," Clark said on ESPN's "First Take" on Wednesday.
"If you look at the structure of the NFL today, it's about one-upsmanship," he said, pointing to the recent contracts of quarterbacks Joe Flacco, Aaron Rodgers and Tony Romo as examples.
"The culture we have now is about money," Clark said. "The Steelers were a team that kept that away from the organization as long as possible."
Clark pointed out former teammates Joey Porter and Alan Faneca and current teammate Troy Polamalu as Steelers players who agreed to contracts with the team while avoiding drama.
"We don't have those type of people in the organization anymore because I don't think those kind of people come into the draft," Clark said. "Guys are seeing it as 'I want to play and make as much money as I possibly can.'"
Greene told the Post-Gazette that "there's a different attitude with the players" now.
"The culture we have now is about money," says Clark.
"It's an attitude change. In all my years of being with Pittsburgh, I never encountered a player taking a contract dispute into the season and letting that dispute affect the way he played. That's a bad thing," he told the newspaper.
Greene was asked if he was referring to former Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace, who signed with the Miami Dolphins this offseason.
He said it would "be unfair for me to call someone out, not knowing who that person is," but he said the Steelers teams that he played on wouldn't let "locker room information and knowledge … outside the locker room."
"Again, I think that's the attitude and direction that was so preeminent with the Pittsburgh Steelers; it was about family, it was about team, the organization. Everyone in the organization would get treated fairly because we were a family."
Clark, who has publicly discussed the problems that affected the Steelers' locker room last season, said Wednesday he's already seeing a welcome change among his teammates heading into the 2013 season.
"I've received numerous texts … Antonio Brown, when I texted him my new number, first thing he said was, 'Look man, we're going to grind, we're going to work this year. None of the things that we thought were going on last year are going to go on.'
"Ben called me during the offseason and said, 'Hey, I came out and made a statement that there was no fracture in the locker room because there is none. It's 2013, we're starting this over, whatever happened last year happened. Let's move on.'"
Clark said the fact the Steelers' struggles last season have taken away some of their mystique in the public eye has "banded us together."
"If this is what they're going to say about us outside of this locker room, all we have to count on is what we do inside of this locker room. What we do on the grass," Clark said. "So that's the mentality that we've taken and I think it's going to be a plus for us."