Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker and Pro Football Hall of Famer Kevin Greene died on Monday at the age of 58, the team announced in a press release.
A Schenectady, New York native, Greene played three season with the Steelers from 1993-95 and appeared in Super Bowl XXX with the team. He previously played eight seasons with the Los Angeles Rams and finished his career with stints with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.
In his 15-year NFL career, Greene recorded 734 tackles and 160 quarterback sacks, which remains the third-most in NFL history behind only Bruce Smith and Reggie White.
When Greene joined the Steelers prior to the 1993 season, he paired with Greg Lloyd to become one of the most feared linebacker duos in the entire NFL. Known for his long hair, fearless play and an off-the-field persona that included stints in professional wrestling, Greene quickly became a fan favorite in Pittsburgh.
“We lost an amazing player and person this morning with the passing of Kevin Greene,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a press release. “His sudden death is a shock to us all, as he was a close friend and teammate to so many people in the Steelers family.
“When Kevin cam to the Steelers in 1993, he had an immediate impact. Paired with Greg Lloyd, Kevin and Greg led a defense that became known as Blitzburgh and went on to play in Super Bowl XXX. Kevin’s energy and enthusiasm were inspiring for our team as well as our fans.
“My condolences go out to Kevin’s wife, Tara, their children and the entire Greene family in this most difficult time. They will always be members of the Steelers family and in our thoughts and prayers.”
Greene was recognized five times as a participant in the Pro Bowl, was named an All-Pro three times and was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1996, the second of two times he led the league in sacks. Greene is also a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.
After his retirement, Greene coached outside linebackers with the Green Bay Packers from 2009-13, winning a Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XLV against the Steelers, and with the New York Jets from 2017-18. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August 2016.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Kevin Greene,” Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker said in a press release. “I regarded him as a personal friend and a true Hall of Famer in every sense. He possessed the most incredible can-do attitude of anyone I ever met. He was a great player, but more than that, he was a great man. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s wife, Tara, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Kevin’s memory.”
Greene is also a member of the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. He was originally a walk-on at Auburn University, where he played four years before being drafted in the fifth round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Rams. While at Auburn, he completed the ROTC course and eventually earned the rank of Captain as part of the Alabama Army National Guard.