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Home » Jets’ Gavin Greene Keeping Late Father Kevin Greene With Him

Jets’ Gavin Greene Keeping Late Father Kevin Greene With Him

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It was the dream he shared with his late Hall of Fame father, the dream Gavin Greene is now pursuing on a tryout with the New York Jets, Kevin Greene living so deep in his heart and in his mind. that he will not feel alone.

Gang Greene together.

Gavin Greene stood in the press room of the facility where his father was once an assistant coach on Saturday and smiled like it was Christmas morning when someone asked what he thought his father might think:

“He’ll probably give me a bear hug and head butt, you know?”

“I’m sure my dad is smiling from heaven right now, so happy that despite his passing and all the adversity I’ve been through with it, I’ve overcome this and am here now. I think he is overjoyed.

Gavin, a water boy when his father coached the Packers outside linebackers (2009-14), was in seventh grade when he told his parents he wanted to play football.

“The reason he’s not Kevin Jr. is because Kevin never wanted Gavin to have to live under that pressure, do what dad did, be like dad,” Gavin’s mother Tara said. at Post.

Jets’ Gavin Greene, right, runs a drill with Hamilcar Rashed.
Bill Kostrun/New York Post

Kevin nevertheless felt compelled to leave his position as assistant coach of the Packers.

“One night he came into my son’s room and Gavin said to Kevin, ‘Dad, tomorrow when you have some free time, can you teach me what you taught Clay Matthews today at the work ?’ “recalls Tara. “That was all Kevin needed. He knew the same day that he would no longer coach the Green Bay Packers, that he had to pass on his passion for football to his son who wanted it.

The family moved back to Destin, Florida, and Kevin was able to help coach Gavin during his senior year at Niceville High School. “He never stopped until the day he died,” Tara said.

“In fact, the day he died, he was actually training my son.”

Gavin, a 6-foot, 250-pound defensive end/outside linebacker, started out at South Mississippi before joining Mississippi College.

Kevin Greene, left, and his son Gavin Greene after a Mississippi College football game in 2019.
Gabrielle Greene

But then came the tragic day of December 21, 2020, when Kevin Greene succumbed to a heart attack. He was 58 years old.

“Apocalyptically heartbreaking,” Tara said. “He felt responsible, to some extent, because dad worked with him. Dad was doing this to make him better.

The day had started with an intensive Stairmaster/treadmill high heart rate workout on the property, after which Kevin was not feeling well. But he recovered quickly enough to continue with Gavin on the NFL-quality partial field that Kevin had set up in the front yard. Tara returned home with her daughter Gabrielle from the grocery store.

Kevin Greene has devoted his time to the football aspirations of his son Gavin Greene.

Her voice choked with emotion as she said, “So I find him in our bathroom.” CPR attempts failed. “Then the day falls apart,” Tara said, “and our lives fell apart.”

They all turned to prayer.

“[Gavin] was heartbroken,” Tara said. “He was frustrated. We have strong faith. God is OK we had questions. We didn’t understand. Gavin was like, ‘How can I do this without my dad? How can I do this without my best friend? » ”

Marvin Lewis, Kevin’s linebacker coach with the Steelers, offered advice and support. Former Ravens and Chargers linebacker Jarrett Johnson helped coach Gavin.

Gavin got up because his dad always taught him to get up.

“Me and my dad, even though his time on this planet was cut short,” Gavin said, “we’ve lived a thousand lifetimes together. My dad is my greatest hero and will remain my greatest hero to this day.

Before being a star in WCW, before coaching outside linebackers for the Jets (2017-18), before his HOF consecration in 2016, before being the popular blonde-haired predator with the Steelers, Kevin was a Ram when he opened a Gold’s Gym in Anniston, Alabama where Tara met him. She had no idea he was an NFL player.

“I was going to ask you out,” Kevin told her the next day, “but I guess you won’t be dating me now.” He guessed wrong. They married in 1992.

Gavin, three inches shorter than his father, turns 25 next month.

“He has Kevin’s focus,” Tara said. “He walks like Kevin, he stands like Kevin, when I close my eyes he sounds like him sometimes.”

Tara realizes that Gavin is an unlikely dream.

“His dream was to follow in his father’s footsteps,” Tara said, “and it wasn’t a dream Kevin gave him. In fact, Kevin repeatedly tried to discourage him, because he said, “What you want to do is borderline impossible.”

Gavin: “In fact, he initially said, ‘I don’t want you to play football, I don’t want you to have this pressure.’ I just remember my father being the gentlest giant.

Gavin and Gabrielle, as they prepare to become veterinarians, are proof that tragedy can be overcome.

“Kevin has always instilled in our kids that you don’t let anything or anyone get in the way of your dream,” Tara said. “They knew their dad wouldn’t want them to stay home and cry. They both knew that the best way to honor his memory was to keep working hard on the dream they wanted, because that’s what he wanted for them more than anything.

“Their father is so proud of the strength and courage they have shown in being able to step forward to do what he would want them to do.”

Kevin was calling pass throwers and offensive linemen to get Gavin to pick their brains.

“Gavin has a pass-rush tape of every pass rusher who’s ever done anything with the pass rush that Kevin has done for him that he can watch and break down,” Tara said. “One of the biggest things Kevin taught Gavin was how to watch a movie. How to look for those clues. How to be a student of the game.

Now Kevin Greene’s proud student is taking the exam. And not just for himself.

“Anything he humanly can do, he’s willing to do to make his dream come true and to honor himself,” Tara said, “but he also has a passion to honor his father, while he’s been there. they spent together, and they loved together, and worked together.

“That he can proudly wear another Greene in the NFL.”

Gang Greene together.

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