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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Kevin Greene is Hall of Fame finalist

By David Newton

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Former Carolina Panthers outside linebacker Kevin Greene was named a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Class of 2014 on Thursday.

Greene began his career in 1985 with the then-Los Angeles Rams, where he played until 1992. He played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1993-95, then came to Carolina in 1996 to be a part of coach Dom Capers' 3-4 zone blitz scheme.

He signed with the San Francisco 49ers for the 1997 season, then returned to Carolina in 1998 and retired after the 1999 season.

Greene was selected to five Pro Bowls, the final two times (1996, '98) with Carolina. He finished his career with 160 sacks, third on the NFL's all-time list.

His 15 sacks in 1996 were a Carolina single-season record until defensive end Greg Hardy tied it this season.

Now in his fifth season as the outside linebackers coach at Green Bay, where Capers is the defensive coordinator, Greene had been a semifinalist for the Hall the past seven seasons.

Among the top 12 sack leaders in league history eligible for the Hall, only Greene and Leslie O'Neal haven't made it.

The knock on Greene is he was a pass-rushing specialist and not an all-around player when it came to run support and pass coverage. That may ultimately keep him from getting into the Hall this season with defensive ends Michael Strahan, fifth on the sack list at 141.5, and Charles Haley among his competition.

The Class of 2014 will be selected on Feb. 1, the day before the Super Bowl.