Commentary

Cornerback Darrell Green: In the words of...

Originally Published: August 1, 2008
By Chris Conetzkey

Darrell GreenJoe Robbins/Getty ImagesDarrell Green, one of the NFL's speediest cornerbacks for two decades, holds the record for consecutive seasons with an interception (19), and had 54 picks for 621 yards and six TDs.

Teammate Art Monk
Monk on going in to the Hall of Fame with Green, his former teammate:

"What makes this even more significant than just being in the Hall of Fame is that we're going in together. He wasn't just a teammate of mine, he's a great friend. Our families are like real family. His kids call me Uncle. My kids called him Uncle. We do those things together. This makes it just that much more of a special event for us."

Opponent Eric Allen
Allen, who watched Green's career from the sidelines as a cornerback with the Philadelphia Eagles, on how Green's athletic ability enabled him to use solely the outside coverage technique:

"He used his speed to be able to see the quarterback through the receiver. So that gave him an advantage because if the pressure was getting there fast, and the quarterback was going to have to throw early, he could see that ball and break on it. But the one downfall of that was, if you are facing a big receiver like Mike Quick or Michael Irvin, they are going to play basketball on you, shield you so you can't get the inside ball and they can catch the ball. And that is one of the things I learned from watching Darrell."

Darrell Green
Green on growing up as an undersized athlete in the football-crazy state of Texas, and what he did to overcome his fears:

The Hall's Monitor

Emmitt Thomas Emmitt Thomas was Darrell Green's position coach with the Washington Redskins for eight seasons. The two built a special relationship, and Green credited Thomas's coaching style as one of the reasons he made the Hall of Fame. Story
"I actually played for my elementary school, instead of playing with the guys my age, I played with the guys my size. In eighth grade, I wasn't able to do that. Obviously I got too old and in eighth grade, I didn't play and I was a little afraid, a little small.

"In the eighth grade, I came up with a plan. So I said I better go and run track and at least get on the athletic radar, and that's what I did. I had a plan to go out there in the 11th grade. They said: 'Well, we'll put you on the junior varsity. We'll go with that.' So I said, 'Thank you, at least I get to play,' so I did.

"I think [it] goes back to my dad, who said: 'Boy, you can really play that ball,' and that was encouraging. But that was against all of the voices of, 'Man, you're too little,' or 'Get out of here little guy you're too small, you're scared.'

"So his voice eventually prevailed, but really early on, I was you know, I can't say anything benefited me. I was struggling trying to just stand up out there and face the guys on a day-to-day basis. I was a little fella and I was scared."

A Story
Green's teammate, former Redskins guard Mark Schlereth, on just how fast Green really was:

"Every time we won, [the film department] would stay up all night and not only get all the film cutups, but they would put together a highlight reel of the game and set it to music. It would be a three- or four-minute highlight reel. And they would show it in our meeting on Monday.

"We were playing the Phoenix Cardinals, and Green -- we used to call him Peewee or Peanut Head -- intercepts the ball and we rewound the video highlight film, because it was one of those situations where he intercepted the football, and it reminded me of the old Disney movie ["The World's Greatest Athlete"] … where a guy is running against a cheetah. You know where they like sped him up so he could run with the cheetah, it looked totally cheesy.

"But he intercepted the ball and took it to the house for a TD, and I swear to you, I kid you not, it was like they doctored the film. He was so much faster than everybody on the field. We were like, 'Come on what did you do to the film?' But no, that was just exactly what it was. He was just that much faster than everybody on the football field. It was just an amazing video clip."