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Khaseem Greene

Sport: Football

Born: February 4, 1989

Town: Elizabeth

Khaseem Greene was born on February 4, 1989 in Elizabeth. He is the son of Raymond Graham and Arnessa Greene. His father was a gifted multi-sport athlete who earned a scholarship to Purdue University. However, his career was cut short after his freshmen season when a hereditary heart condition was discovered. Shortly after, Raymond was arrested for selling drugs. Khaseem's mother worked long days as a teacher's assistant and spent her nights at school working towards a nursing degree. With his mother and father both largely absent, Khaseem—the oldest of his mother's six children—would often look after his siblings. Later, in college, Khaseem would play against his half-brother Ray Graham, a running back for Pittsburgh.

Khaseem attended Elizabeth High School, where he played linebacker for three seasons. In 2006, Khaseem made 117 tackles and led Elizabeth to a group championship. After high school, Khaseem spent a post grad year at Avon Old Farms in Connecticut, where he switched positions to safety. In addition to football, he also starred on the track and basketball teams.

Khaseem was recruited by Greg Schiano to play safety forl Rutgers beginning in 2008. When Schiano wanted to improve the defense's speed, Khaseem was moved back to his high school position of linebacker. He immediately excelled at the position with 141 tackles, which led the Big East Conference. He shared the 2011 Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award with Cincinnati DT Derek Wolfe. His dream season ended when he snapped his right leg with only a few minutes left in the 2011 Pinstripe Bowl. Khaseem was forced to have surgery and missed spring practice, but returned in style by stuffing the stat sheets with 136 tackles, 6 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. This effort earned him sole possession of the 2012 Big East Defensive Player of the Year Award.

The next stop for Khaseem was the NFL. He was taken in the 4th round of the 2013 draft by the Chicago Bears. His somewhat low position in the draft was primarily due to concerns that he wasn't big enough to be an NFL linebacker. In 2013, Khaseem totaled 28 tackles, adding an interception and forced fumble. Over the offseason, he switched numbers from #59 to #52 to honor former Rutgers teammate and friend Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a college game. In 2014, Khaseem played sparingly, picking up just 17 tackles. At the conclusion of the season, Khaseem was placed on waivers and quickly claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Off the field, Khaseem runs an annual football camp in his hometown of Elizabeth for local kids. He is dedicated to using his platform as an NFL star to improve the lives of the youth in his home city.

 

—Andrew Feldman

 

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