On Saturday, Aug. 6, former Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2016.
Greene, who was originally drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round in 1985, established himself as an elite pass rushing outside linebacker with the Rams, collecting 72 ½ sacks in eight seasons. When he became a free agent in 1993 he wanted to look elsewhere as the Rams had gotten away from the 3-4 defense he thrived in. He signed with the Steelers and during his three seasons with the Steelers (1993-95) he recorded 35 ½ sacks and resurrected his incredible career that ended with 160 career sacks.
Some of those that knew Greene best when he was with the Steelers weighed in one what made him special.
Bill Cowher on Greene:
"While he was here a short period of time, he certainly left his mark with the Pittsburgh Steelers. We will always remember his flowing gold locks. I think him and Greg Lloyd set the mantra for our football team on the defensive side of the ball. It's great to see to guys recognized for their production over a long period of time. He is one of the best outside linebackers to ever play the game."
Jerry Oslavsky on Greene:
"He had such a will to inflict a sack on the quarterback. Back in 1993 when Kevin showed up here, that was his main goal. He would always say, 'I have to get to the quarterback.' He would remind you, 'I have to get to the quarterback.' It was a running play and he would still say, 'I have to get to the quarterback,' and we would tell him it's a running play.
"It was great because that's what he had to do. That went over to everyone, Greg (Lloyd), Levon (Kirkland), me and Chad (Brown). Just the history of linebackers, having a guy like that always wanting a sack was great. We are all held to a standard. He held everyone on the defense to the standard, and you had to live up to it or you would hear about it.* *"When he came here he was in a system that fit his talents, and he had a second career. As an inside linebacker I appreciated him. If it was a running play he could hold up over there and you knew you didn't have to worry about too much to your left. If it was the pass he might get a sack and you didn't have to cover the guy long. If you heard a roar behind you and you saw Kevin getting up, you knew it was good."
Carnell Lake on Greene:"I think Kevin would have been good for any team because he brought a level of intensity and professionalism. He was no nonsense and his focus was all about being the best he can be. That's contagious. It's rare you come across a guy who is that intense and focused on his profession like that.
"From the time he entered the building until he left, he was focused and talked about football. Everything was about being the best, what he ate, how he trained, everything. That's why he is going to go down as one of the all-time best linebackers in the game.
"If you look back at outside linebackers who were productive in the league, not just statistically but the way they handled themselves, the intangibles, there were not many guys you're going to point to as the kind of guy I want to pattern my game after. Kevin was that kind of guy. When you walked into the building in the morning and left in the evening, you would see Kevin there. He was in the building before most people and was there later than most. That is the kind of guy he was. There are only a few things you can control personally – your effort, preparation and attitude – and Kevin has always did that."