Green Bay Packers outside linebackers coach Kevin Greene has stepped down to spend more time with his family. Head Coach Mike McCarthy released the news this afternoon. Easily the most energetic and enthusiastic assistant on the staff is leaving after spending five years with the team that included the development of Clay Matthews into an NFL superstar and was culminated with the Super Bowl XLV Championship.
In a statement released by the team, Greene said, "I am stepping from the NFL at this time in order to spend more time with my wife, Tara and our children Gavin and Gabrielle. I will miss coaching and will try to return after our kids move on to college if a team will have me. My experience with the Green Bay Packers has been nothing but positive. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that Mike McCarthy and Ted Thompson have blessed me with. I have a peace about the productivity that I helped bring forward in all the fine young men that have been entrusted to me these past five years. I am most proud of all their accomplishments and the fine young men they've become in this league."
Greene joined the staff in 2009, getting his first opportunity to coach at any level. His high energy style and cheerleading approach on the practice field was infectious from the beginning. After playing in defensive coordinator Dom Capers' system, he got tremendous results in developing pressure packages from the outside linebacker group. In his five years in Green Bay, the Packers piled up 204 sacks, 4th most in the league and outside backers accounted for 91.5% of those quarterback sacks. Greene helped turn Matthews, a former number one pick with only one year of starting experience at USC, into a perennial Pro Bowl player, making the NFC squad in each of his first four years in the league. Greene was also able to get the most out of undrafted free agents like Frank Zombo, Dezmon Moses and this year, Andy Mulumba.
A walk on at Auburn University, Greene was a 5th round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 1985. He also played for the Steelers, 49ers and had two stints with the Carolina Panthers before retiring in 1999 with an NFL record 160 sacks for a linebacker, five Pro Bowl appearances and a spot on the all NFL decade team of the 90's.
McCarthy said of Greene's decision, "Kevin approached me recently to express his desire to step away from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family. On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank him for all his contributions and hard work over the past five seasons with the Green Bay Packers. Kevin provided an incredible amount of energy, passion and knowledge each and every day he was with us. The dedication he showed to maximizing the potential of his players was clearly evident to anyone that worked with him and he will be missed."
Greene's personality was so unique to for the most part, the button down world of NFL coaching. Running to and from the line of scrimmage at practice, high volume praise for his troops and of course, the long, blond hair. He was a player and fan favorite. He had a 16 year career in the Army Reserve ranking as a Captain and he even dabbled in professional wrestling for a couple of years. He just might be taking a family vacation of Ohio this summer for Greene once again is among 15 finalists for election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
As for the Packers' coaching staff. McCarthy's group has been a model of consistency since he cleaned house defensively after his second year in Green Bay. Greene becomes the third key member to leave since the end of the 2011 season. Offensive coordinator Joe Philbin was first, becoming the head coach of the Miami Dolphins. Quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo was hired as the offensive coordinator of the New York Giants earlier this week and now Greene is getting out of the business altogether. I'd expect running backs coach, Alex Van Pelt, a former quarterback, to get strong consideration for McAdoo's job, Greene's position will probably be filled from the outside but his successor will have big shoes to fill after today's big surprise.