Former Packers assistant coach Kevin Greene dies at 58

Pro Football Hall of Famer was member of Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV coaching staff

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Former Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene

GREEN BAY – Former Packers assistant coach Kevin Greene died Monday at his home in Alabama at the age of 58.

Greene was Green Bay's outside linebackers coach on Mike McCarthy's staff for five seasons (2009-13), including the Packers' Super Bowl XLV championship year.

"The Packers were saddened today to learn of Kevin Greene's passing," Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said. "He was a great coach for us and was instrumental in our team's Super Bowl championship season. He had so much energy and passion. Our players loved playing for him.

"We extend our sincerest condolences to Kevin's wife, Tara, and their entire family."

A star for four different teams in his playing career, Greene earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors as a member of the Rams, Steelers and Panthers, and also had a double-digit sack season with the 49ers. Drafted in the fifth round by the Rams in 1985 after a decorated college career at Auburn, Greene recorded 160 sacks over a 15-year NFL career, ranking third on the all-time list when he retired after the 1999 season.

He reached double-digit sacks 10 times, played in a Super Bowl with Pittsburgh in 1995, and was eventually inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.

Greene brought that expertise and experience to coaching, joining the Packers' staff when Dom Capers was hired as defensive coordinator in 2009, which coincided with outside linebacker Clay Matthews' rookie year.

Matthews, a first-round draft pick in '09, would go on to earn Pro Bowl honors his first four years in the league under Greene's tutelage.

"To have him as my coach was tremendous in my development here," Matthews said a few months after Greene's Canton induction. "I think he was able to instill a lot of what he would call fundamentals and techniques on how to set the edge on the run, hand placement, head placement. Little nuances in the game."

Greene is famous in Packers lore for an NFL Films clip of him urging Matthews, "It is time," during Super Bowl XLV vs. Pittsburgh following defensive captain Charles Woodson's exit from the game due to injury. Matthews would force a fumble by Steelers RB Rashad Mendenhall that proved pivotal in Green Bay's victory.

After his five seasons with the Packers, Greene left the coaching ranks for three years and then returned as an assistant coach with the Jets in 2017 and 2018.

Greene had Capers, who coached him in both Pittsburgh and Carolina before the two reunited as coaches in Green Bay, present him for his Hall of Fame induction in 2016. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and a member of the NFL's All-Decade team of the 1990s.

"Kevin was such a great individual," said Capers, a senior defensive assistant with the Minnesota Vikings who served as the Packers' defensive coordinator from 2009-17. "He had a such a great passion for the game. He had an infectious personality and influenced everybody he was around. Everybody had a tremendous amount of respect for him because he not only produced and performed as a player, but as good of a player he was, he was even a better person. My heart and prayers go out to Tara and Gavin and Gabi. He'll be missed by so many people."

Greene posted a career-high 16½ sacks in consecutive years (1988, '89) and also led the league in sacks twice (1994, '96). He posted his third-highest single-season total of 15 sacks in 1998 and then ended his career the following year with 12 more sacks.

"I really figured out how to pass rush," Greene said, shortly before his Hall of Fame induction, about staying so productive throughout his career. "I figured out how to put a guy – an offensive tackle that was three or four inches taller than me, outweighed me 80-100 pounds – I figured out how to put him in a position of failure and I did that.

"Can't really share with you how I figured it out, but obviously I shared it with Clay up in Green Bay and so forth. And it works."

--Wes Hodkiewicz contributed to this report.

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