It has been an incredible week for the former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Kevin Greene. The day before Super Bowl 50 he found out he was to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a part of the class of 2016. The news of his enshrinement put him in the public spotlight, and of course, he was asked questions about the Steelers.
When speaking with Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Greene was asked if he had any advice for current Steelers linebacker James Harrison. The two edge rushers have a lot in common as they played well into their late 30s, and, with Harrison about to turn 38-years-old, Greene offered up some sage advice to the man fans and teammates call "Deebo".
In Greene's last year, he was 37-years-old and continued to be productive as a pass rusher. In his 15th, and final, season Green was able to produce 12 sacks in a 4-3 defense with the Carolina Panthers.
"Actually, I had a pretty decent year my last year,'' Greene told Bouchette. "I wanted to go out on a high note and be productive."
Harrison was productive in 2015 registering 40 tackles, 5 sacks and an interception throughout his time playing in a part-time role with the Steelers.
"I don't know where James is and the scheme of things. I look back at my career, the Super Bowl escaped me but I had a peace about my production and what I brought to every team I played for, not only production but leadership.
"I wanted to call my shot when I wanted to leave the game. I didn't want a coach to tell me, ‘Kevin we're going to cut you, Kevin you're too slow.' I wanted to go out on my own terms."
This sentiment certainly is something which registers with all professional athletes, especially at the end of their careers, but Greene always leaned on the same philosophy: If you are productive, you can still play.
"I was 37 and I went out as a starter playing all three downs. That's the best any athlete can hope for -- play a long, productive career, healthy, play a lot of games and call his shot. I played my passion out."
"I don't know where James is as far as peace on his career. He's done good things. That pick-six in the Super Bowl totally changed the course in that game, a giant immense game. It was awesome."
Harrison is still under contract for the 2016 season, but failed to commit publicly to returning for another season. If Harrison is listening, Greene is giving him advice on how to enter the swan song of his career. If he can still be productive and play, then there is no doubt he should play.
Anyone who watched the Steelers in 2015 would attest how Harrison can still be productive, even in a limited role and at the age of 38-years-old.