GRANITE CITY, Ill. – Former Granite City High School graduate and NFL defensive legend Kevin Greene died Monday at his home in Alabama. He was 58.
Though born in Schenectady, New York, Greene grew up in Granite City and was a star athlete for the Granite City Warriors.
He played basketball and was a high-jumper for the track team, but Greene excelled on the gridiron. He was a two-year starter on the varsity football team and made all-conference as a senior.
Greene went to Auburn University and joined the football team as a walk-on. In 1984, he won the SEC’s All-Defensive Player of the Year Award.
He was drafted by both the USFL’s Birmingham franchise and the Los Angeles Rams in 1985. Over the next 15 seasons, Greene played linebacker with the Rams, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, and Carolina Panthers. In that span, he was voted to five Pro Bowls and was named First-Team All-Pro on three occasions
Greene complete ROTC while in school and achieved the rank of second lieutenant in the Alabama Army National Guard. Greene eventually earned the rank of captain and completed paratrooper training at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Greene retired from football in 1999. He recorded 773 tackles, 5 interceptions, 23 forced fumbles, and 160 sacks in his prestigious career, which is good for third all-time behind Bruce Smith and Reggie White. He was also voted to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1990s.
When he wasn’t chasing down or smothering opposing quarterbacks, Greene occasionally flexed his muscle in the wrestling ring, with sporadic appearances in World Championship Wrestling from 1996 through 1998.
Greene was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016. Granite City High School named its football field in his honor during homecoming in October that same year.
A cause of death was not announced.