Kevin Greene – Carolina Panthers OLB (1996)
On May 21, 1996, All-Pro linebacker Kevin Greene signed a two-year, $2 million contract to play for the fledgling Carolina Panthers. Although the player returned to the team in 1998, he was cut after the first year of his initial deal, thus making him qualified for this list.
At 34 years old, the prolific linebacker was a huge part of the Panthers’ stunning deep playoff run in 1996. Greene tallied 51 combined tackles, 14.5 sacks (which led the NFL), two forced fumbles, and a touchdown en route to his third consecutive Pro Bowl and second career First-Team All-Pro selection.
Greene, who formed an incredible partnership alongside Panthers legend Sam Mills, anchored a defense that was 10th in yards allowed, second in points allowed, and fifth in takeaways.
Carolina would win their division at 12-4 and go on to defeat the defending world champion Dallas Cowboys, before falling short in the NFC Championship against the eventual Super Bowl champs, the Green Bay Packers.
After spending the next season in San Francisco, Greene returned to Carolina for two more productive seasons before he retired in 1999. The two-time All-Pro was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016, two decades after signing with the Panthers. Greene tragically passed away after suffering a heart attack this past December aged 58.