Football fans and the National Football Association are mourning the loss of Kevin Greene, a legendary player and coach. He passed away at the age of 58.
For 33 years, Kevin Greene was an icon to NFL fans, first as a football player for the Los Angeles Rams and the Carolina Panthers, among others, then as a coach for the Green Bay Packers and the New York Jets.
The 58-year-old Pro Football Hall of Fame passed away on December 21, 2020, at his home in Florida surrounded by his family, but a cause of death has yet to be announced.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Kevin Greene. I regarded him as a personal friend."
Baker went on to extend his condolences to Greene's wife Tara and his two children, Gavin and Gabrielle. He also announced that, in Greene's honor, the Hall of Fame flag would be flown at half-mast.
Greene's former clubs where he distinguished himself, the Los Angeles Rams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Carolina Panthers, and the San Francisco 49ers also shared tributes to the player.
Greene would always cherish his years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and received his Hall of Fame ring from the team.
LINEBACKER OF THE YEAR
Greene's career as a pro started in 1985 with the Los Angeles Rams, but he had a slow start and only started distinguishing himself in 1988, after which he signed a $2.5 million contract with the Rams.
Greene became a free agent in 1993 and signed a three-year, $5.35 million contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the following year he was was voted NFLPA AFC Linebacker of the Year.
Greene would always cherish his years with the Pittsburgh Steelers and received his Hall of Fame ring from the team. It was with the Steelers that Greene was to have his first experience as a coach.
Greene served an internship as an assistant linebackers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2008, which opened the way for his work with the Green Bay Packers.
In 2014, Greene stepped back from his coaching activities in order to spend more time with his family. In 2016, his life-long dream came true, and he was finally inducted into the Hall of Fame. In his speech, he said:
"I didn't play this game for any other reason than love and passion."
Greene was to return to coaching in 2017, as the New York Jets' outside linebackers coach, and served the team in 2018 too, but was not included in the coaching staff in 2019.
Greene's son Gavin posted a heartbreaking tweet expressing his pain at his father's passing, but the family has yet to announce a cause of death or memorial service for the NFL icon.
The game is richer for Greene's contribution, for the love and passion he brought to the field each time he played. Greene had attributed his work ethic and his determination to his father's influence.
Greene's father, Therman Greene, a retired U.S. Army colonel, had imbued his sons with a sense of duty and discipline, virtues which had served the player well throughout his career.