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Kevin Darwin Greene (born July 31, 1962 in Schenectady, New Yorkmarker) is a former American football linebacker who played in the National Football League for 15 years and who retired after the 1999 NFL season. Greene is currently the outside linebackers coach for the Green Bay Packers.

Early years

Greene was a two-year starter and honorable mention All-conference selection as a senior at Granite City South High (Ill.). He also played basketball and was a high jumper for the track team.

College career

Greene played college football as a walk-on at Auburn Universitymarker, and in 1984 won the Zeke Smith Award as Defensive Player of the Year. He had 69 career tackles as an outside linebacker and 11 sacks his senior year where he led the Southeastern Conference. He was selected by the Birmingham Stallions in the 1985 United States Football League Territorial Draft and later selected by the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League in the fifth round (113th overall) of the NFL Draft the same year. He earned a degree in Criminal Justice at Auburn. He completed ROTC while at Auburn and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Alabama Army Reserve and during the off season, he graduated from the RC-1-86 Armor Officer Basic Course, Fort Knox, KY.

NFL career

He played for the Rams from 1985 through 1992. In 1988, Greene led the Rams with 16½ sacks which was 2nd overall in the NFL behind Reggie White. That total included 4½ sacks against the San Francisco 49ers' Joe Montana in a key late-season game that the Rams had to win order to make the playoffs which they did.

The following year Greene made All-Pro in 1989 and was named to the Pro Bowl for the first time with his second consecutive season of 16½ sacks (4th in the NFL). After a 39-day holdout, Greene signed a 3-year $2.5 million contract with the Rams His 13 sacks (tied for 6th in the NFL) in 1990 gave him 46 sacks for that three-year period, the most of any player. In 1991 the Rams changed defenses and defensive coordinators. Jeff Fisher switched the Rams to a 4-3 defense after being a 3-4 team since 1983. Greene was moved from outside linebacker to defensive end. Due to injuries he ended the season back at linebacker but he ended the season with only 3 sacks. His lowest total, by far, since his rookie season. In 1992 the Rams hired Chuck Knox as head coach and the Rams remained a 4-3 defensive team but Greene played a more usual position, left outside linebacker. He finished with 10 sacks and Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman picked Greene for his own personal All-Pro team, citing Greene's coverage ability.

In 1993 he signed a 3-year $5.35 million free-agent contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He had a solid season with 12½ sacks which tied him for 7th in the league. The following season, Greene was a consensus All-Pro choice in 1994 as he led the NFL in sacks and made another appearance in the Pro Bowl. In 1995 he went to his third Pro Bowl and also played in Super Bowl XXX, a loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

On May 21, 1996, Greene signed with the Carolina Panthers (a 2-year $2 million deal) following their 1995 inaugural season and helped them reach the NFC Championship Game where the team lost to the eventual Super Bowl XXXI champion Green Bay Packers. In 1996 he was named the NFC Linebacker of the Year and received the NEA Defensive Player of the Year Award. In addition the NFL Alumni voted Greene the NFL Linebacker of the Year Award. He was also voted the NFC Player of the Year by the Washington D.C. Touchdown Club. Additionally, he set an NFL record with 5 consecutive multi-sack games and finished leading the NFL in sacks for the second time in three years with 14½. Along the way he was a consensus All-Pro in 1996 for the second time in three years. He was selected to his fourth Pro Bowl. Said by Panther teammate Dwight Stone to be, along with Sam Mills, the most "professional guy" on the 1996 Panther team .

After one season with the Panthers and a dispute over his wrestling career with that organization, he played one season for the San Francisco 49ers. Greene signed what the 49ers called a six-year, $13 million contract, that included a $750,000 signing bonus on September 25, 1997. Greene had been released by the Panthers on August 25, 1997. With the 49ers Greene had 10.5 sacks and broke the Lawrence Taylor's record for most sacks by a linebacker.

After the 1997 holdout and a year with the 49ers Greene re-signed with the Panthers on February 28, 1998. In 1998 he was repeated his honor of being named NFC Linebacker of the year by the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). Greene was named to the Pro Bowl after the 1998 season bringing his Pro Bowl total to five. Greene was tied for third in the NFL for sacks, after Michael Sinclair (16½ sacks), Reggie White (16 sacks), and tied with Michael Strahan who each totaled 15 sacks.

He retired after the 1999 season when he had 12 sacks (7th in the NFL) as a 4-3 outside linebacker and as a five-time Pro Bowler and the NFL's third all-time sack leader with 160, behind only Bruce Smith and Reggie White. He also leads all NFL linebackers in career sacks ahead of players like Lawrence Taylor, Derrick Thomas, Rickey Jackson, and Andre Tippett. Greene is one of only 4 players to lead the NFL in sacks in multiple seasons ('94 with the Steelers and '96 with the Panthers). Greene is also tied for second in career safeties with three. He also ranked third all time in fumble recoveries with 26, which he returned for 136 yards and 2 touchdowns. He described his aggressive style of going after fumbles as "a hog going after a sweet potato in the mud" . He also recorded 5 interceptions, returning them for 53 yards and a touchdown. He is one of three players to record 10 sacks a year for 10+ years. He averaged over 10 sacks a year for 15 seasons.

Greene played in 228 games in his 15-year career. Ten times he was among the NFL's Top 10 sackers, leading the NFL twice. Eleven times in his 15 years he led his club in sacks. Played in six conference championships in his 15 seasons.

Wrestling career

Greene also had a couple of short stints in World Championship Wrestling. He debuted in WCW as a tag team partner for fellow NFL alum Steve McMichael, but McMichael turned on him in favor of joining the Four Horsemen. Greene disappeared from WCW for several months before returning to get revenge on McMichael in a singles match, where he defeated McMichael when the latter's ally (Jeff Jarrett) accidentally nailed McMichael with a briefcase.

Greene eventually left wrestling altogether when NFL teams began requiring a "no wrestling" clause in his contract.

Coaching career

During the 2008 season Greene, along with former Steeler Jason Gildon, served an internship for the Pittsburgh Steelers as an assistant linebackers coach during training camp. On January 26, 2009, Greene was hired as an Outside Linebackers Coach for the Green Bay Packers by Dom Capers. The Packers are transitioning into a 3-4 base defense from their traditional 4-3 base. Greene played for Capers for two years as a Steeler, and then followed Capers to Carolina when Capers was named first head coach of the Panthers.

Notes

  • Was a semi-finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Famemarker in 2007 and 2008.
  • Wore #90 at Auburn and #91 throughout his NFL career.
  • Got his U.S. Army commission by attending ROTC (Reserve Officer Training Corp) at Auburn University the summer of 1982.
  • Served as a Captain during a 19-year Army Reserve career, drilling at Fort Knoxmarker after his professional football season had ended. He also attended (JMOC) Jr. Officer Maintenance Course as well as (TC3) Tank Commander Certification Course at Ft.marker Knoxmarker, KY. He is also a United States Army Paratrooper having attended the United States Army Airborne school at Ft.marker Benning, Georgiamarker.
  • Spoke at the memorial service for Orange County, Californiamarker, pastor Charles Obremski with fellow professional athletes Jackie Slater, Jeff Kemp, Tim Salmon, Chuck Finley and others after the minister's 2005 death.
  • In 1995 hit Brett Favre so hard that he caused the quarterback to spit up blood.
  • Says his favorite sack was one on Trent Dilfer, in Tampa Bay, in 1997.
  • Was guest on TV game show Wheel of Fortune in 1999.
  • Greene and his wife, Tara, have a son, Gavin, and a daughter, Gabrielle
  • For much of his career, Greene was known for sporting a long, blond, shoulder length hair.


References

  1. "Greene Was Another Example for Rams", Los Angeles Times, September 3, 1990.
  2. (Zimmerman, Paul) Dr. Z's All-pro Team, Sports Illustrated vault, January 11, 1993. Retrieved April 11, 2009.
  3. TRANSACTIONS, New York Times April 4, 1993.
  4. "THE INSIDE TRACK; Watch It, World, a Greene Machine Is on the Way", Los Angeles Times, May 21, 1996.
  5. [1]
  6. "GREENE RETURNS AS PANTHERS' ENEMY" Greenboro News & Record, September 25, 1997.
  7. "GREENE SIGNS TO RETURN TO PANTHERS", Buffalo News, February 28, 1998.
  8. [2]
  9. [3]
  10. [4]
  11. Google.books
  12. ibid
  13. [5]
  14. Green Bay Packers Coaching bio


External links




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