Ex-Steeler Greene's for Green Bay
By: Mike Bires
Beaver County Times
Wednesday February 2, 2011

Green Bay Packers linebackers coach Kevin Greene, left, and linebacker Clay Matthews (52) look over a play during a Packers NFL football practice, Wednesday, June 9, 2010, in Green Bay, Wis. (AP Photo/Mike Roemer)

ARLINGTON, Tex. — Three years ago, Kevin Greene grew bored. After dabbling in real estate, he yearned to do something more exciting with his life.

So he called the Steelers.

In the summer of 2008, one of the most prolific sack artists in NFL history wanted to try his hand at coaching. It was the Steelers, a team he once played for with great intensity and productivity, who gave him a chance as a training camp coaching intern.

For two weeks at St. Vincent College, Greene worked with James Harrison, LaMarr Woodley and the rest of the Steelers’ outside linebackers. It was then that Greene found a new calling.

“I could see at that time the addictive qualities of coaching,” Greene said. “You’re working with your kids, you’re helping them and you’re molding them, you’re showing them different techniques and fundamentals that worked for you as a player. So I thought I could be good at it.”

The Packers thought so, too. They hired Greene as outside linebackers coach last year.

“I had the good fortune of having Kevin as a player at both Pittsburgh and Carolina,” said Dom Capers, the Packers’ defensive coordinator. “He always played the game with passion and always took home film to study and prepare.

“He’s carried those same qualities as a coach. He takes an awful lot of pride in teaching these young guys. He can relate to them because he’s been there. He’s got the most sacks of any linebacker in the history of the league and he approaches his coaching job with the same passion he did as a player. His players reflect that on Sundays.”

Even though Greene spent only three of his 15 pro seasons with the Steelers, he cherishes the time he spent in Pittsburgh (1993-95).

He went to the playoffs all three years. In 1994, the Steelers advanced to the AFC Championship before losing at home to San Diego. In 1995, the Steelers advanced to Super Bowl XXX where they lost to Dallas.

In his three years in Pittsburgh, Greene racked up 12.5, 14.0 and 9.0 sacks, respectively, and earned two trips to the Pro Bowl.

“Some of my most fun times were with Pittsburgh and the players I played with,” said Greene, whose 160 career sacks are third in NFL history after Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198).

“Rod Woodson, Carnell Lake, Greg Lloyd, Darren Perry, Chad Brown, Levon Kirkland … those were great guys to play for. And there were so many great defensive minds on that coaching staff. Bill Cowher was the head coach. Dom Capers was the defensive coordinator. Dick LeBeau coached our secondary. (Current Cincinnati head coach) Marvin Lewis was my linebackers coach. Those were a lot of great defensive minds coming together. Imagine the brainstorming they used to do.

“That was a wonderful part of my career. I have great memories from Pittsburgh. But understand, I’m here in Dallas to be the best coach I can be. I am a Green Bay Packers coach. And I really want to get this ring.”

In the short time he’s been coaching, Greene has gained the respect of the players he coaches.

Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley, for example, raved about the way Greene worked with him during those two weeks in 2008.

“Man, Kevin Greene was fired up,” said Woodley, who has 39 regular-season sacks and 10 more in postseason play since the Steelers drafted him four years ago.

“He was ready to play when he was out there coaching us. He has that aggressive attitude, and he expects the same from his players because that’s how he played. So when I found out he had the job at Green Bay, I knew he’d bring that attitude to their outside linebackers.”

Apparently, he has.

“He played this game for many years and excelled at this position, so he obviously can relate all his information to me,” said Clay Matthews, who’s recorded 10.0 and 13.5 sacks in his first two seasons. “I can take that to heart. He’s not just a coach telling me what to do. He did it at this position for so long. He knows what to do.

“He’s very intense about his preparation, techniques, everything that goes with the game. He’s really gotten me to the point where I am today. He’s gotten me ready for each and every game I play, including the game we’re playing Sunday.”