Green's action louder than words
Despite taunt, Ahman denies game vindication
Monday, October 06, 2003
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Despite taunt, Ahman denies game vindication
By LORI NICKEL
Last Updated: Oct. 5, 2003
Green Bay - Ahman Green is not a very good liar.
A punishing runner, possibly headed to his third consecutive Pro Bowl, a gracious back who properly credits his blockers, and maybe even a new school version of Sweetness himself are all that he is. But he could use some acting tips from Hollywood teammate Najeh Davenport.
Green tried to be as convincing as possible Sunday afternoon when he said the Green Bay Packers' 35-13 whipping of Seattle held no personal, additional satisfaction for him, that he felt no bitterness toward Seattle coach Mike Holmgren, who traded him to Lombardi Ave. in 2000 because he was prone to fumble, something Holmgren won't tolerate. Green even chuckled at Holmgren's new implication last week that he really traded Green because he was worried about the running back's asthma condition.
"It was kind of funny to me," Green said. "I've played football for 19 years, six of them in the NFL. For a coach to say that . . . that's the first time I've ever heard a coach at any level use that for me as an excuse. I've had it since I was in Little League. And I had it in high school. My college coach, Tom Osborne at Nebraska, knew I had it. So they knew I would need a break every now and then. So for a coach to use that excuse, hey, it's new."
So, it's just coincidence that:
Green rushed for 118 yards, his third 100-plus game of the season.
Green had a second consecutive 100-yard game for the fourth time in his NFL career. He had 176 yards last Monday night in Chicago. The last time he had twin 100-yard games was when he had 107 yards on Oct. 7, 2002, against Chicago and the next week had 136 against New England.
Green's teams are 18-0 when he runs for 100 yards (the Packers have benefited from 17 of those).
Green is the all-time leading rusher in Lambeau Field with 2,344 yards on the tundra, surpassing Dorsey Levens (2,315).
With 33 rushing touchdowns, including two against Seattle on 1- and 3-yard runs, Green is fifth on the Packers' all-time list.
"I don't keep track of that stuff," Green said. "The only time I'm going to know my records is when I'm done playing this game. Right now I am so focused on what I have to do to help this team. If I focus on yardage and touchdowns, then I'll lose focus on my purpose on the football field."
OK, that's all believable, sort of, but did you prove anything to Holmgren?
"I probably did," Green said. "It was a business deal. At that time, (Holmgren) thought I would be better off with another team. I take it as that. It was a blessing in disguise."
On a team whose coaches pride themselves on being unemotional, Green could not be on this day. When fullback William Henderson scored in the third quarter to put the Packers up by 22 points, Green slammed the ground with both hands and spewed his "take that" to the general direction of Seattle, then ran to the fans on the 50-yard line and cheered them on enthusiastically. Green was often the first to congratulate teammates on a nice run or catch.
Green's source of motivation was so obvious.
"This game, and last week's game, are the two biggest of his career," said his backup, Tony Fisher, who did indeed spell Green in the third quarter in the red zone and got an 11-yard touchdown run out of it. "Walter Payton was his idol and he had the opportunity to go down there in Soldier Field and he did a great job. And this time, this was just a statement game for him."
After the game, Green sought out some of the Seattle teammates he knew from 1998 and ' 99, especially linebacker Anthony Simmons, who came in as a Seattle rookie the same year Green did. He hugged others.
Holmgren said Green was a good player but said greatness required longevity.
"I think being called a Pro Bowl back is a pretty nice thing. That's a good thing," Holmgren said. "And if you go beyond that, you have to play a long time and be good a long time, in the Emmitt Smith class."
After the game, Green gave a ball to his oldest daughter, Ahmani, and his fiancee, Heather Walters.
"All I'm living up to is being a running back, not a franchise player, or the best running back in the league," Green said. "I'm living up to the best of what Ahman Green can be."
From the Oct. 6, 2003 editions of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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