GREEN BAY, Wis. -- For as long as the Green Bay Packers have played a 3-4 defense under coordinator Dom Capers, they have had arguably the best outside linebacker in NFL history coaching that position.
That will change this coming season because Kevin Greene has decided to step down from coaching, the team announced on Friday.
Shortly after Capers was hired to run the Packers defense in 2009, he brought in Greene to coach his former position because he felt there was no one better to do so than the NFL's all-time sacks leader at outside linebacker with 160. Capers coached Greene during parts of his 15-year playing career for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, Greene was named as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Greene, 51, said in a statement released by the Packers that he is leaving to spend more time with his family but would be open to returning to coaching in the future.
"I am stepping away from the NFL at this time in order to spend more time with my wife, Tara, and our children, Gavin and Gabrielle," Greene said in the statement. "I will miss coaching and will try to return after our kids move on to college if a team will have me."
In his first season, Greene was charged with developing first-round draft pick Clay Matthews, who would go on to make four straight Pro Bowl appearances.
"Kevin approached me recently to express his desire to step away from coaching so that he could spend more time with his family," Packers coach Mike McCarthy said in a statement. "On behalf of the entire organization, I want to thank him for all of his contributions and hard work over the past five seasons with the Packers.
"Kevin provided an incredible amount of energy, passion and knowledge each and every day he was with us. The dedication he showed to maximizing the potential of his players was clearly evident to anyone that worked with him, and he will be missed. I want to wish Kevin, Tara, Gavin and Gabrielle nothing but the best in the years ahead."
Greene's passion as a player carried over to his coaching. He was often the most vocal person on the practice field. He had a strong attachment to his players, who he often referred to as "my kids."
"My experience here with the Green Bay Packers has been nothing but positive," Greene said. "I am eternally grateful for the opportunity that Mike McCarthy and [general manager] Ted Thompson have blessed me with. I have a peace about the productivity that I helped bring forward in all of the fine young men that have been entrusted to me these past five years. I am most proud of all their accomplishments and the fine young men they've become in this league."
McCarthy now has two openings on his coaching staff. On Tuesday, quarterbacks coach Ben McAdoo left to become the New York Giants offensive coordinator.