Kevin Greene’s legacy on and off the field will live forever

(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Kevin Greene
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images) Kevin Greene /

Kevin Greene’s legacy with the Carolina Panthers will live forever.

The world lost a remarkable man this week. Kevin Greene sadly lost his life aged 58 and 21 years after he last saw the field in a professional environment. This is a crushing blow to those that grew up watching the pass-rushing phenom strut his stuff and one only has to look at social media to see how much he is revered more than two decades since he last stepped onto the gridiron.

Nobody that saw Greene play will ever forget it. His infectious smile and clear love for the game was matched by a fierce determination that saw him quickly emerge as one of the game’s true greats.

Pro Bowler.

First-team All-Pro.

Pro Football Hall of Famer.

And, simply put, there would have been no immediate success for the Carolina Panthers without Kevin Greene.

The much-loved figure joined the Panthers in 1996 just one year after their inception. If the first campaign was encouraging, then getting Greene to the organization was a coup that few have lived up to before or since.

Kevin Greene was a one-off.

Greene wasted no time in making his presence felt on and off the field. Despite being 36 years of age, he managed 14.5 sacks, 51 tackles, and three forced fumbles before departing Carolina in favor of a move to the San Francisco 49ers.

However, it was clear that his year with the Panthers had a profound effect.

Which played a leading role in his eventual return just one season later.

Although very much in the twilight of his career, Greene was still a force to be reckoned with during what turned out to be the final two years of his professional football life. He notched 27 sacks and 98 tackles during this span, ensuring his time in the NFL ended on a high note.

Greene’s career stats are insane.

  • 160 sacks
  • 734 tackles
  • 23 forced fumbles
  • 26 fumble recoveries
  • 5 interceptions

Not bad for a relatively unfancied fifth-round pick.

However, there was one thing that avoided Greene during his playing career.

A Super Bowl ring.

This is something he managed to finally get his hands on as a coach with the Green Bay Packers, which was his playing and coaching career coming full circle and there was nobody more deserving.

He remained heavily involved in coaching until recently, with Greene’s last job in the NFL coming with the New York Giants in 2017. You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone with a bad word to say about the legendary figure, who was rightfully inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016.

Simply put, Greene’s legacy will live through the ages both in Carolina and across the league. He approached every game the same and brought everyone that saw him play to the edge of their seats.

A constant nightmare for opposing offensive linemen, Greene was one of the good guys and the world is a much worse place without him in it.

There will never be another Kevin Greene. The Panthers were incredibly fortunate to have him and few would argue he played a substantial part in a newly-formed team gaining respect early on.

He is deserving of all the plaudits coming his way. Even if Greene isn’t around to hear them.