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Sunday, December 29, 2002
Updated: December 30, 12:48 PM ET
Green says goodbye after 20 Redskins seasons

Associated Press

LANDOVER, Md. -- Darrell Green did farewell laps before and after the game. The second one latest 55 minutes, and he cried both times.

Darrell Green
After 20 years with the Washington franchise, Darrell Green waved goodbye Sunday.

Green retired Sunday after 20 seasons with the Washington Redskins, leaving behind a legacy of perseverance and community service. He and Jackie Slater are the only two players in NFL history to play with one team for two decades.

"There's no way I could be who I am without all of you,'' Green said as tears streamed down his cheeks in a ceremony before the game against the Dallas Cowboys.

About an hour before Green's 295th game, the 42-year-old cornerback made the rounds inside the stadium, waving to the early-comers, giving hugs and high-fives. He held up a fan's sign that read: "Thank you, No. 28,'' and Emmitt Smith came over to offer best wishes.

After the game, Green was on the field long after his teammates had dressed. Just before he left, he went to the 50-yard line and backpedalled one last time, like a cornerback defending an out pattern.

"This has been a most incredible day in my life,'' said Green, again fighting tears, "because I just started off just wanting to be a good football player, like most kids would want to be, and realized that God has more in plan for me.''

Green is the oldest player ever to play cornerback in the NFL. He was a starter until age 40 and played regularly on defense until the final weeks of his career.

Green got one final start Sunday, going in on the first play on defense before being replaced. He returned on some nickel packages and brought back memories with a dazzling 30-yard run after taking a handoff from Champ Bailey on a punt return in the 20-14 victory.

Green went to seven Pro Bowls, the last at age 37. He holds Redskins records for regular-season games played (295) and started (258). He had 54 interceptions entering Sunday's game, second to Rod Woodson among active players, and 10 touchdowns on interception, punt and fumble returns. He had at least one interception in an NFL record 19 consecutive seasons.

Green plans to remain in the Washington community, promoting his inner-city youth learning centers. Assistant general manager Bobby Mitchell presented Green with a $150,000 check for the foundation on behalf of the Redskins in the pregame ceremony. Green was also given a football autographed by President Bush.

Green was also placed into the "Ring of Fame,'' a list of Redskins greats that encircles the stadium on the facade of the upper deck.

Green told the crowd that he hoped to use the celebrity that football has brought him to "change the world for all that is good, right and Godly.''

"It is my goal not only to end a career, but to launch into a future and a life that carries on the purpose of God in this generation,'' Green said.