December 4, 2015

Highlighted Year: Kevin Greene, 1996

Linebacker, Carolina Panthers

Age: 34
12th season in pro football, 1st with Panthers
College: Auburn
Height: 6’3”   Weight: 247

A walk-on in college who was the SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 1984, Greene was chosen by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of the ‘85 NFL draft. He was utilized on special teams and as a pass rushing specialist for his first three seasons, accumulating a total of 13.5 sacks, before moving into the starting lineup at left OLB in 1988 and registering 16.5 sacks. He received first-team All-NFL recognition from NEA and The Sporting News and was also a Pro Bowl selection for the first time in ’89 following another 16.5-sack season. Strong and fast, Greene had good range and instincts, and while a holdout led to a slow start in 1990, he still ended up with 13 sacks. With a shift to a 4-3 defense in ’91, Greene was moved to defensive end and his sack total dropped to three. He moved back to outside linebacker in 1992, recorded 10 sacks, and signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Steelers in ’93, where he was again able to play in a 3-4 alignment. The result over the course of three years in Pittsburgh was 35.5 sacks, including a league-leading 14 in 1994, a year in which he also received consensus first-team All-NFL honors, and two Pro Bowl selections. He joined the Panthers as a free agent in ’96.

1996 Season Summary
Appeared in all 16 games
[Bracketed numbers indicate league rank in Top 20]

Sacks – 14.5 [1]
Most sacks, game – 2.5 at St. Louis 11/17
Multi-sack games – 4
Interceptions – 0
Fumble recoveries – 3
Fumble recovery TDs – 1
Forced fumbles – 2
Tackles – 37
Assists – 14

TDs – 1
Points – 6

Postseason: 2 G
Sacks – 0
Interceptions – 0
TD – 0

Awards & Honors:
1st team All-NFL: AP, PFWA
1st team All-NFC: UPI, Pro Football Weekly
Pro Bowl

Panthers went 12-4 to finish first in the NFC West, reaching the postseason in just their second season of existence, while leading the NFL in sacks (60) and ranking second in fewest points allowed (210). Won NFC Divisional playoff over Dallas Cowboys (26-17). Lost NFC Championship to Green Bay Packers (30-13).  

Greene held out in 1997 due to a contract dispute and was released by the Panthers during the preseason. He signed with San Francisco and was used primarily as a pass rushing specialist, accumulating 10.5 sacks. Greene returned to Carolina in ’98, moved back into the starting lineup, and recorded 15 sacks and was chosen to the Pro Bowl at age 36. He played for one more year with the Panthers in 1999 and finished up with 12 sacks, his tenth double-digit total in 15 NFL seasons. Overall, Greene compiled 160 sacks, which ranked third all-time, in addition to 26 fumble recoveries, two of which he returned for touchdowns, and five interceptions, one of which resulted in a TD. 41.5 of his sacks came during his three seasons with Carolina. Greene received at least some first-team All-NFL honors after three seasons and was selected to the Pro Bowl five times, four of them after age 30.


Highlighted Years features players who were consensus first-team All-League* selections or league* or conference** leaders in the following statistical categories:

Rushing: Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Passing: Yards, Completion Pct., Yards per Attempt, TDs, Rating
Receiving: Catches, Yards, TDs (min. 10)
Scoring: TDs, Points, Field Goals (min. 5)
All-Purpose: Total Yards
Defense: Interceptions, Sacks
Kickoff Returns: Average
Punt Returns: Average
Punting: Average

*Leagues include NFL (1920 to date), AFL (1926), AFL (1936-37), AAFC (1946-49), AFL (1960-69), WFL (1974-75), USFL (1983-85)

**NFC/AFC since 1970