If you ever find yourself as a fringe outside linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers and a former Steelers outside linebacker recently inducted into the Hall of Fame starts talking to you, it’s probably wise to bend an ear in his direction and listen to what the man has to say, as it may prove to be useful.
That is the position that second-year linebacker Anthony Chickillo recently found himself in while working at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex, as Kevin Greene, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame later this year as a part of the 2016 class, happened to stop by, as many former players are wont to do on occasion.
The story comes courtesy of Teresa Varley via the team’s website, who quotes Chickillo as saying that “it was awesome to hear what he said”, referring to the great outside linebacker. The young man described him as “an approachable guy”, saying that “as soon as I talked to him he was asking me questions and started telling me things he used to do”.
Among the things that he revealed was that he credits about three quarters of his sacks to “a technique he used”, not revealing the specific technique that Greene told him about. “He gave me tips on that and told me to start developing that kind of rush and I will see success immediately if I do that”.
It is not, of course, wholly outside of Greene’s nature to lend a helping hand to the next generation of pass rushers, as he has a bit of that coaching mentality in him. About a decade after he retired as a player, he began to break into the coaching ranks, serving an internship as an assistant linebackers coach for the Steelers in 2008.
The following year, he was hired by the Packers to act as their outside linebackers coach, which, it might be worth pointing out, is a specific position that the team did not have up until the 2015 season, when it was filled by another former Steelers outside linebacker, Joey Porter.
Greene coached the Packers’ outside linebackers for five seasons under Dom Capers, for whom he played in both Pittsburgh and Carolina, during a stint that included a Super Bowl victory over the Steelers at the end of the 2010 season.
He stepped away from coaching following the 2013 season for family reasons, but he has expressed a desire to return to the profession later, when his children reach college age. Had anyone doubted that he in any way lost the fire or passion for the game, you can probably just ask Chickillo about his impromptu study session under the great pass rusher.
Chickillo is looking to preserve his position as the fifth outside linebacker on the depth chart in 2016, and ultimately expand upon that. He played 22 defensive snaps last year due to injuries ahead of him. Considering that Greene managed 160 sacks in his career, his advice should be as good as any when it comes to giving him an edge in improving his value to the Steelers.