Holmgren's trade explanation upsets Green

Updated: October 4, 2003, 2:19 AM ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Earlier in the week, running back Ahman Green said he couldn't find any extra motivation to face his former team, the Seattle Seahawks, and Mike Holmgren, the man who traded him.

But that was before he heard Holmgren's explanation for trading him to the Green Bay Packers in 2000 for cornerback Fred Vinson. Green was a short-yardage back and kick returner in Seattle but had fallen into Holmgren's doghouse for fumbling in the preseason.

The trade turned out to be one-sided because Vinson twice tore the same ligament in his knee and never played a down for the Seahawks while Green became one of the NFL's top running backs.

With Sunday's upcoming showdown between Seattle (3-0) and Green Bay (2-2) at Lambeau Field, Holmgren was asked about the trade and he cited the same reasons he has for years: that Ricky Watters already was his featured running back and he desperately needed a cover cornerback.

Then he brought up another factor that he hadn't ever mentioned publicly: Green's asthma.

"I don't know if he would admit this, but he was having some asthma problems that I thought were fairly serious," Holmgren said. "I thought it was tough for him to stay on the field for any length of time without it really bothering him."

When informed of Holmgren's comments, Green couldn't believe it.

"I've never heard that one," he said. "That's a new one on me. I'll tell my mom and dad that one. Hey, I've had this my entire life. Every coach I've ever played for knew about it, from little league to high school to college. So, if (Holmgren) says he was worried about it, maybe he was. I'm not going to get inside his head and see what he was thinking. If that was the case, that was the case."

Might Holmgren simply have been trying to cover himself for a trade that went terribly awry?

"You can say that. I'm not going to say it," Green retorted.

Green said his asthma actually was better in Seattle, where it isn't as humid in the summer. He occasionally has flare-ups early in the season when the weather is warm but usually misses only about one series.

"I have to catch my breath," Green said. "My lungs, it's exercise-induced. So, ... once I catch my breath, I'm OK. It's really when it's really humid. That's when it gives me a tough time."

Green has been to the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons and he's the NFL's second-leading rusher so far this season with 442 yards on 78 carries. He's coming off a career-high 176-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Chicago Bears that earned him NFC offensive player of the week honors.

Earlier in the week, Green said he wasn't particularly excited to face his former team.

"I know them, they know me, that's about it," Green said.

And he insisted he wasn't eager to face Holmgren, either.

"For myself, it's nothing special, it's nothing personal," Green said. "Out there on the football field, it's all business and just a football game, just like any other."

Then, Holmgren handed him something to get fired up about.

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index