GREEN BAY – Perhaps this will be the year for Kevin Greene.
The Green Bay Packers outside linebackers coach was among Wednesday’s 25 semifinalists for enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, marking the eighth consecutive year that Greene has reached the semifinalist list.
Taken by the Los Angeles Rams with a fifth-round pick (113th overall) out of Auburn in the 1985 NFL Draft, Greene played 15 NFL seasons (228 games) with the Rams (1985-1992), Pittsburgh Steelers (1993-1995), Carolina Panthers (1996, 1998-’99) and San Francisco 49ers (1997). He finished his career with 160 sacks, which ranks third all-time behind Hall of Famers Bruce Smith (200) and Reggie White (198). He led the league in sacks twice, had 10 seasons of at least 10 sacks and was named to two All-Pro teams and five Pro Bowls.
Greene has been a finalist each of the past two years. He won’t be available to reporters until Friday, the defensive coaches’ designated media availability day.
When asked about his candidacy in 2010, before he’d been a finalist, Greene said, ““I’m managing the ups and downs of the process. It’d be great if I took a step forward in the process, but more importantly, I’m knee deep in what I’m doing right now. I’m definitely focused what I’m doing now and being the best coach for my kids that I can be. It’s not dominating my thoughts like when I had nothing to do.”
Greene was the only one of the men with Packers connections on the preliminary list of nominees to advance to the semifinalist list. The others – retired general manager Ron Wolf, former coach Mike Holmgren, former wide receiver Sterling Sharpe, former safety LeRoy Butler and Clay Matthews Jr., the father of current Packers linebacker Clay Matthews III – did not advance.
Wolf was a finalist in 2012. This is the first year Holmgren has been nominated. Matthews has been a semifinalist before but didn’t make the cut this year.
The list of 25 semifinalists will be reduced by mail ballot to 15 modern-era finalists. That list increases to 17 finalist nominees with the inclusion of the two recommended candidates of the Hall of Fame’s seniors committee. The seniors committee nominees, who were announced in August, are punter Ray Guy and defensive end Claude Humphrey.
The results of the modern-era reduction vote to 15 finalists will be announced during a one-hour special on NFL Network on Wednesday, Jan. 8.
Although there is no set number of enshrinees for any Hall of Fame Class, the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s current ground rules stipulate that between four and seven new members will be selected each year. No more than five modern-era nominees can be elected in a given year and a class of six or seven enshrinees can only be achieved if one or both senior nominees are elected.
The Class of 2014 will be determined at the selection committee's annual meeting on Saturday, Feb. 1, in New York, on the eve of Super Bowl XLVIII. The Class of 2014 will be officially enshrined on Aug. 2 in Canton, Ohio.
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