CANTON, Ohio – There’s a small detail to Kevin Greene’s place in football history that apparently means a lot to him.
In his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction speech on Saturday night at Tom Benson Stadium, Greene pointed out that Packers quarterback Brett Favre is officially the 298th member of the Hall, and he’s No. 299.
“I’m side by side with Brett Favre for eternity,” Greene said. “Right where a linebacker needs to be.”
Greene, third on the NFL’s all-time sack list with 160 and a Packers assistant coach for five seasons (2009-13), was introduced by Packers defensive coordinator Dom Capers.
Capers was the defensive coordinator for the Steelers when they signed Greene as a free agent from the Rams, and he led the NFL in sacks in 1994 and helped Pittsburgh reach the Super Bowl in 1995.
When Capers became the head coach of the expansion Carolina Panthers, he brought Greene with him there, too, and he helped them reach the NFC title game in 1996, against the Packers.
“He was a relentless player,” Capers said in his videotaped introductory remarks. “He played the game with passion and had a lot of fire to him. You could see he was a very emotional player.
“He was going to wear the guy down he was playing against. He was playing as hard in the fourth quarter as he did at the beginning of the game.”
Greene’s speech was just as passionate as his game, as he thanked numerous family members, coaches and teammates for their influence on his career. He also brought the crowd to its feet with a tribute to the nation’s law enforcement and armed forces, emphatically leaving the stage with a salute.
Greene was named to the all-decade team for the 1990s, and he recorded double-digit sacks in 10 of his 15 pro seasons.
“He was a natural leader,” Capers said. “For three hours on Sunday, he was going to give everything he had. When he flipped that switch, he was going to play with that heart and soul, that attitude that you wanted.
“He loved the game. All the things that made him an outstanding player made him an outstanding coach.”
Greene won a Super Bowl ring as a member of the Packers’ coaching staff in 2010, tutoring the outside linebackers and working for Capers as the veteran coach installed his 3-4 defensive scheme in Green Bay.
“He brought me to the Green Bay Packers and he put me in a position to affect games,” said Greene, whose arrival coincided with the drafting of outside linebacker Clay Matthews in the first round in 2009.
“Coach Dom, I love you, and I thank you for everything.”