Kevin Greene hoping for Hall of Fame call

ST. LOUIS -- Although his name may not ring out in conversations of the league's greatest pass-rushers, Kevin Greene sits third in NFL history with 160 career sacks.

Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Chris Doleman, the players ranked Nos. 1, 2 and 4 have already been inducted into the Hall of Fame. Greene is in his 10th year of waiting for the call and is a finalist for the third straight year.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee will convene Saturday afternoon and sift through the 15 modern era finalists. The competition, as it's been for the past nine years, will be tough. Despite his strong credentials, Greene is anything but a lock for election.

Looking closer at Greene's pure production, one would think he's already been enshrined in Canton (see right).

Perhaps it works against Greene that he spent plenty of years bouncing from team to team rather than establishing his legacy with one. Players like Smith and Lawrence Taylor made their names known for dominating in one place while keeping track of Greene was a bit more difficult. Even for the purposes of this piece, it was hard to peg what team would handle the case for Greene's induction.

Many will likely remember Greene's work with the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1993-1995 since that was right in the prime of his career, but Greene actually served the most years with the Rams and had his best seasons with the Los Angeles edition of the team.

Greene was originally a fifth-round choice of the Rams out of Auburn in 1985. He played for the team from 1985 to 1992 and posted a career high 16.5 sacks in 1988 and 1989. He would go on to play in Pittsburgh, Carolina and San Francisco as well.

In looking at Greene's chances for induction, it can be difficult to see how he might breakthrough this year. Some of the game's greats such as linebacker Derrick Brooks, offensive tackle Walter Jones, running back Jerome Bettis and guard Will Shields are also up for induction. Beyond that, the competition amongst pass-rushers is tight in itself.

Giants defensive end Michael Strahan and Dallas defensive end Charles Haley are also on the ballot and it seems unlikely that more than one of that trio would land a spot. Although Greene has more sacks than both players, Strahan has the advantage of winning a Super Bowl and the season record for sacks in a season. Haley has fewer sacks than Greene and Strahan but is also one of the winningest players of all-time with five Super Bowl trophies to his name.

Beyond a lack of star power, Green is also viewed as a bit more one-dimensional than the likes of Haley and Strahan. He was never known as an elite run stopper and most of his claim to fame comes from his ability to get after the quarterback.

Ultimately, it seems unlikely Greene will get his call for Canton this year. It seems the popular Strahan is the most likely of the pass-rushers to get the nod. Greene may also have to wait behind Haley as well. Greene's impressive sack total is too good to keep him out forever but more patience may be required.