By Jeff Shearer
CANTON, Ohio - Just like their exhibits inside the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Kevin Greene and Brett Favre sat side by side Friday during the gold jacket photo op.
Greene’s display includes game-worn gloves bearing the name of each sack victim. A Favre glove is prominently displayed.
“I reminded him more than once,” said Greene, who led the SEC in sacks at Auburn in 1984. “I caught him a couple good times. I just had a good idea of what they were running, based on personnel groupings, formation recognition. You can anticipate things. I knew he was a big naked bootleg guy, and certain parts of the field, he likes to run naked bootleg, getting down toward the red zone. Ball’s on a certain hash.
“I do have a couple Brett Favre gloves. But he’s juked me a couple times, too, and come up and slapped me in the head, and said, ‘Better luck next time, Greene.’ He was one of the good ones. He was a warrior.”
With 160 sacks, third most in NFL history behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White, Greene’s glove collection is vast and reads like a “who’s who” of legendary quarterbacks.
“The Montanas and Marinos and Elways, Warren Moons, Jim Kelly. They’re all on there,” he said. “I lived in a really cool time in the NFL, where I knew I was playing against a Hall of Fame quarterback every weekend. And my job was to hunt them. This can’t get any better. It was a dream come true. And I hunted them. And it was fun. So that was another memory I wanted to keep of playing against these great quarterbacks.
“When I first started, I thought it would be really cool to keep my sack gloves and write the name of the quarterback I sacked and the score of the game, and the date of the game. I’ve got some old sack gloves. I don’t know how many pairs, because some games I had two sacks, and some games I had three sacks. I’ve kept them all, and they’re pretty cool to break out every once in a while. And show Gavin. I give them out, too. But I still have the majority of them.”
Ironically, Greene’s son, Gavin, is a freshman on the football team at Southern Miss, where Favre starred before playing 20 seasons in the NFL.
Greene’s desire to spend more time with his children, Gavin and Gabrielle, prompted him to retire as the Packers’ linebackers coach after the 2013 season.
“I stepped away from Green Bay, to put my hands on my own son, Gavin. It was hard to justify pouring myself into Clay Matthews when I had my own son going, ‘Dad, can you show me what you showed Clay today?’ So, I knew it was time to punch out,” Greene said. “But he’s an athlete at the University of Southern Mississippi. I’m a season-ticket holder there now. So I’m looking forward to being a dad and watching him for a little while.
“But if a situation presents itself, it would have to be the right situation to pull away from being a dad. The window is not closed, but it’s just kind of cracked right there. It’s closing, but it’s just cracked.”
Despite his dominance, including more sacks than any linebacker in NFL history, Greene was eligible for the Hall for 12 years and was a 5-time finalist before being elected.
“It happened in God’s timing,” Greene said. “It happened at a perfect time in my life.”
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer