Levon Kirkland, the Pittsburgh Steelers' inside linebacker, offers up his left hand by way of evidence. He has just been asked his opinion of the hardest hit delivered by teammate Greg Lloyd, the Steelers' cussin', fussin', fightin' and feudin' five-time all-pro linebacker.

"I have a broken wrist here," Kirkland said the other day. "And that's from him. I was a rookie {in 1992} and we were doing a little drill, and he chopped my wrist. Broke my wrist. I had a cast on it forever, like four months. That's the hardest hit he ever delivered on me."

This is what we know about Greg Lloyd, in the prime of his career at age 30 and a few days from Super Bowl XXX against the Dallas Cowboys. He is a wild-eyed brute who hits people improperly, such as when he earholed Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre in a preseason game, sending Favre flying across the field. That hit cost Lloyd $12,000. He is rude and crude, having been caught expletive-deleting on NBC in the seconds following the Steelers' 20-16 win over Indianapolis in the AFC championship game.

Teammates are in awe of his rage -- "I watch the guy play," running back Erric Pegram says, "and one of the main reasons I love him to death is because of the way he gets on the field. He has a way of hitting you." Kirkland says his friend is "nasty, basically."

Lloyd is a yeller on the sidelines, castigating teammates who don't give maximum effort. When he was at Fort Valley (Ga.) State College, he'd purposely pick a fight with his girlfriend, now his wife, so he'd be angry when he got to the stadium for games. He was so intense in practices there that coaches had to occasionally hold him out of drills so that he wouldn't hurt his teammates.

"We'd say Hold off of the quarterbacks,' " said Lloyd's coach, Doug Porter. "And Greg would say You better keep him out of here, then.' "

Earlier this season, he clocked Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunnell twice. Once, he was penalized for a late hit, and once, he wasn't -- though Gene Washington, the league's director of development who hands out fines, said Lloyd should have been flagged for the other one, too.

"You've got to have attitude, gentlemen, to play this ballgame," Lloyd said today. "You've got to go out and play like somebody robbed your house, and is running down the street with your television on their back. That's the way you've got to play this game."

And that settles it. Greg Lloyd, the wild young man of the Iron City.

Except . . .

That doesn't explain the $500 Lloyd donates to Fort Valley for every quarterback sack. He has 46 career sacks, and shows no signs of stopping. Nor does it explain the scholarship Lloyd founded there a few years ago. Recipients have to play linebacker -- and carry a 3.0 grade point average. On occasion, there hasn't been a winner. "He won't lower the standards," Porter says.

That doesn't explain why Lloyd volunteered to spend $50,000 to $60,000 out of his own pocket to refurbish a neighborhood gymnasium on Chestnut Street in Fort Valley. Out of the blue.

That doesn't explain why the vulgar and coarse Greg Lloyd spent many of his Sundays growing up in the back pew of Usher's Temple CME Church in Fort Valley. Or why he was a Boy Scout. Or why he was the eulogist at the funeral of his pastor's daughter. Or how he's a Christian. Or why the media-hating Greg Lloyd's best friend for much of the past 20 years is the civil rights reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

"He doesn't have a whole lot of respect for the profession of journalism," says Hollis Towns, the journalist and former teammate of Lloyd's at Peach County High. "He's had things written about him that he didn't say, like the thing with Miami {where Lloyd was quoted as saying he'd knock Dan Marino into next week.'} He says he didn't even say that."

That doesn't explain why Lloyd spends a lot of weekends, like last weekend, in Fort Valley with old high school and college teammates, telling stories about the old days. Nor does it explain why fans come up to him, in front of his wife and children, and curse.

And it doesn't explain why Lloyd doesn't think football is all that important in society.

"It's America, and it's the way people are, so materialistic," Lloyd said. "So into football, football. I mean, it's important, guys, but if we take football away from America, America still exists. So it's not the most important thing. It shouldn't be the most important thing. We should not put all our marbles on sports. But America's like that. It seems as though our sports are more important than putting our kids through school."

It would seem we don't know everything we thought we knew about Lloyd. We know about the three hours on Sundays. But that's what Lloyd does. It is not who he is.

"You accept the fact, when you become a professional athlete, that you're a role model," Lloyd said. "But understand at the same time, my job is not to raise America's kids. My job is not Be like Mike; be like Greg.' Be like your parents. Understand that I have a job to do, and there are going to be times that, like I say, I'm human. I'm going to screw up. I'm going to do things that parents may not agree with, because they don't understand. They're not down there. They're not in those trenches."

He said today it was inappropriate for him to tap on the field, pantomiming a referee's count, when he stood over former New York Jets wide receiver Al Toon a few years ago following one of Toon's nine concussions. And he apologized to his family for the postgame language last week. They are the only people to whom he feels compelled to answer.

"My wife is my worst critic," he said. "When she opens up her mouth and something negative comes out of her mouth, that bothers me. Because when all this is said and done, who do you have? Family. That's all you have. And my kids' opinions matter, even though they don't make money. Their opinion matters, because to them, I'm dad. It's a great concern, what I look like to them."

Wild-eyed? Actually, quite human. CAPTION: "You've got to have attitude, gentlemen, to play this ballgame," says Steelers linebacker Greg Lloyd.