- Graham Bensinger, Contributing Writer, ESPN.com
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Editor's note: Each week during the season, Graham Bensinger will be talking with high-profile NFL figures for ESPN.com's Weekly Conversation. This week he checks in with Packers RB Ahman Green.
Graham Bensinger: I hear you want to be the next Denzel Washington…
Ahman Green: (laughs) Yeah, I did my first motion picture this summer with Rob Schneider. It's a movie called, "Big Stan." We did the filming in California. It's definitely something I want to do. I respect the craft.
Bensinger: How was making the movie?
Green: It was fun. There was a lot of down time so I got to play a lot of Xbox. Hanging out with the actors and learning what they do was cool. It's similar to football in that there's practice and a lot of down time.
Bensinger: What were your expectations versus the reality of what it was like?
"The way the NFL is today, I don't know. From my standpoint, I want to be. I've been here most of my career and done a lot of my damage here. Green Bay is where I got my opportunity. The Hollywood ending would be staying with the Packers. Then, Ahman Green would walk off into the sunset. "
Ahman Green on whether he thinks he'll stay with the Packers
Green: I had an idea of what the movie set would be like. I thought everyone was going to say like "Quiet on the set!" It's a little of that, but there's a lot of joking around. You find out a lot about people. You sit there and can talk to the director, the producers, or the make-up lady.
Bensinger: What was your most memorable moment from shooting it?
Green: The bus ride back and forth from the movie set. We shot the movie at a women's prison. The bus rides from the hotel to the movie set were the best. Bob Sapp, the big K-1 fighter from "The Longest Yard," would tell jokes that made me crack up the entire ride. I'm talking about a guy that's 6-9, 376 lbs, and 10-percent body fat. Also, I think I surprised Rob [Schneider] a little bit by my acting skills.
Bensinger: How are you as an actor?
Green: Just like I am on the football field: hard working, dedicated, and always trying to get better. That's what Rob saw in me. That was the first movie he was directing. I was in about 10 different scenes. He was impressed.
Bensinger: And you've been taking classes and actually have a coach, too.
Green: Yep. I had it right before I did the movie. I had an acting coach for the audition. It was legit. I went out to L.A to go to a casting call. I auditioned for the part, went into the little studio, and waited for the call back. I got the call back like a month later and flew back out to California. I did the same scene that I auditioned for with Rob, the executive producer, and the casting director. A couple weeks later, I got the part!
Bensinger: Everyone knows about your uncanny obsession with Batman. Is that your dream role?
Green: That's my dream role. We've reached a time in America where we can have a black Batman. (laughs) I would do the part no shame. I would do Bruce Wayne and Batman pretty good. That's something I really really want to do. If not, whatever a director puts in front of me – I'll take!
Bensinger: You actually have your own Batmobile. What's it look like?
Green: I sold my old one last summer and now it's a 1967 Shelby Mustang.
Bensinger: How much work goes into making it a Batmobile?
Green: A little bit. Right now, it's being worked on. The rearview mirror is now a Batman symbol. I have all the decals and am getting special-made rims for it, possibly. The license plate says, "Bat 30." I'm fortunate enough to be able to have some fun.
Bensinger: How nice is it for you to have success this season after all of the critics poured out last year?
Green: It's great. I'm a tough guy. I definitely didn't believe the critics. I don't read or watch anything about myself or my team. I try to just go work hard. That's what has gotten me to where I am now. If I listened to everyone saying it's tough or I can't come back from an injury like mine [a torn right quadricep limited Green to five games last season], then, I could have believed it. I know I still have a lot left in my tank. I love it.
Bensinger: You said it was essentially a blessing. That God gave you a vacation. Why?
Green: Because I'm a workaholic. If I was a businessman, I would be at work from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. I'm in the weight room, eating right, don't drink at all, and don't smoke. I do everything that I can control to make me the athlete I am. Life is tough and when you make it hard on yourself, it can be even tougher.
I get so intense on Saturdays that sometimes my family doesn't want to be around me. I didn't have to be like that when I was injured. I had a normal Thanksgiving and Christmas. I was able to spend time with my kids. I'm still feeling that now. I don't have to be too intense and uptight before I play football. It made me realize that I need to just go out there and have fun like when I was a kid.
Bensinger: It was almost an awakening for you.
Green: Right. Sometimes you get so intense that you worry and think about everything. Instead of just thinking about making plays and having fun, I was worrying about not messing up. Now, I let the game come to me. When it happens, I'm ready for it and react. I don't put all the pressure on my shoulders anymore. I know it's a team sport, but sometimes I felt myself internally trying to do everything for everyone on the football field.
Bensinger: The average career of an NFL running back is short. How much was that in the back of your mind?
Green: It wasn't. When I got hurt, I wanted to know when I could get surgery done and when I could start walking and running again. I wanted to know what rehab I could do to get back on the football field. That was my whole thought process.
Bensinger: Some people have said the lifetime of an NFL running back has increased with the training advances and workout regimens. To what extent do you think that's true?
Green: I believe it. Look at the runners from 10, 15, and 20 years ago. Walter Payton, Bo Jackson, Eric Dickerson -- those were the top RBs then. Walter Payton had an outstanding training regimen. He ate right and took care of his body. That's when you started to see the change in all NFL players. RBs need to be the most dependable person outside the QB because we block, run, sometimes throw and tackle. We have to be in shape to do those things. For me, there's no offseason with my body. I'm always working out and doing something new to stay in shape. We're seeing an evolution in the NFL player. We're working all the time. The better shape you're in, the better you feel, and the longer you're going to play.
Bensinger: You turn the dreaded 30-years-old in February.
Green: I don't know what's so dreaded about it. Hey, I'm happy! I got good health, good kids, a great family, and I'm still on this planet. (laughs)
Bensinger: How long do you want to continue playing?
Green: As long as my body will let me. I've been listening to it ever since the little leagues. I'll go as long as my body lets me play.
"Sometimes you get so intense that you worry and think about everything. Instead of just thinking about making plays and having fun, I was worrying about not messing up. Now, I let the game come to me. When it happens, I'm ready for it and react. I don't put all the pressure on my shoulders anymore."
Ahman Green on how being injured last season helped him relax
Bensinger: What if Hollywood comes calling sooner?
Green: It depends on the situation. I don't know yet! Maybe. Who knows? (laughs)
Bensinger: How likely is it that you'll remain a Packer?
Green: The way the NFL is today, I don't know. From my standpoint, I want to be. I've been here most of my career and done a lot of my damage here. Green Bay is where I got my opportunity. The Hollywood ending would be staying with the Packers. Then, Ahman Green would walk off into the sunset.
Bensinger: Based on what you know about the NFL today, how feasible is it?
Green: It's feasible. I'm not in the war room for the talks right now, but they're talking.
Bensinger: How would you compare the current Packers team to the Green Bay playoff teams of recent years?
Green: We're getting there. We are kind of like the 2000 team where we won the last two [games] in November and four straight in December. We're hitting a stride. We might get a chance to step into the playoffs.
Bensinger: What needs to be done to improve the team?
Green: Continue what we're doing to prevent the turnovers, playing with discipline, and executing our game plan.
Bensinger: How would you describe Brett Favre?
Green: He's definitely that crafty veteran now. He's the guy that can get you out of a tough situation. You can depend on him. If you have his back, he has your back.
Bensinger: What's most impressed you about him from your time in Green Bay?
Green: I watched him as a fan when I was in college. He's a fighter. He could be having a great game or a bad game, but he won't give up until that clock reads zero.
Bensinger: Everyone wants to see Favre play, but when he waited so long to announce his intentions this past offseason it kept the organization in limbo. How hard did that make it on the team?
Green: It's hard because you can't make a decision right away on the draft, free agent talks, or anything like that.
Bensinger: To what extent has that had an impact on the team this season?
Green: Not much. During the offseason, that was all we talked about. We couldn't wait for the season to start so we could stop talking about it!
Bensinger: How long do you expect him to play for?
Green: As long as he wants to play, pretty much. I don't know.
Graham Bensinger is a regular contributor to ESPN.com. Visit his Web site at: TheGBShow.com. You can e-mail him at email@example.com