Pack gets real deal in Green
Ex-Seahawks RB a bargain Wednesday, November 28, 2001
Florida Times-Union

Ex-Seahawks RB a bargain

By Bart Hubbuch
Times-Union sports writer

Thanks to Ahman Green, Jerry Glanville can scoot over now. Glanville needs to make room for Mike Holmgren in the NFL's Bad Trade Hall of Fame.

Holmgren is now a first-ballot candidate after giving the gift of Green 18 months ago to Holmgren's old team, the Green Bay Packers, for a second-round pick -- Fred Vinson -- who's not even in the league anymore.

Branded a fumbler and a failure by Holmgren, Green comes to Alltel Stadium to face the Jaguars Monday night as the leading rusher in the NFC and the third-leading rusher in the NFL.

Oh, and Green is the second-most dangerous weapon -- behind quarterback Brett Favre, of course -- on a rejuvenated 7-3 team that's second in its division.

"The trade was a blessing in disguise," Green said earlier this season. "The guys here believed in me, both the coaches and players."

Holmgren certainly didn't believe in Green, a 1998 third-round pick from Nebraska he inherited from former Seahawks coach Dennis Erickson upon Holmgren's arrival two years ago.

Although Green averaged 4.6 yards per carry in 1999, repeated fumbles in limited action that year behind Ricky Watters prompted Holmgren to put him on the trading block.

The Packers were a willing taker, swapping the oft-injured Vinson for Green in April of last year. The move quickly proved to be Green Bay's shrewdest trade since stealing Favre from Glanville's unwitting Atlanta Falcons for a first-round pick in 1992.

While Holmgren's Seahawks foundered last season, finishing 6-10 and ultimately getting rid of the unproductive Vinson, Green took over for Dorsey Levens for good in Week Nine and ended up as just the seventh player in Green Bay's storied history to rush for more than 1,000 yards.

Green finished last season with 1,175 yards and 10 touchdowns and has nearly equaled those numbers in just 10 games this year. He enters Monday's game against Jacksonville with 938 yards and five touchdowns in 188 carries.

That gaudy 5.0-yard rushing average isn't the only thing that's impressive about Green's breakout campaign. He leads the Packers in receptions with 44 for 395 yards and a score.

"Ahman is still learning the offense, too, which is scary because this guy already is amazing," Favre told Green Bay reporters last month.

Crediting a videotape of Walter Payton highlights -- not Holmgren's snub -- for his inspiration, Green has given the Packers' offense much-needed balance and become one of the league's emerging stars at the same time.

Lucky for Holmgren that he has Shaun Alexander to take his mind off losing Green.

"He's a young runner who's really coming into his own," Sherman said. "I felt he was a good player when we got him and only needed the repetitions and the opportunity to succeed. He got both of those here."

Green no doubt will help carry Green Bay to the postseason, assuming he can solve the fumbling problem that caused Seattle to give up on him in the first place.

Yes, it's still an issue with Green -- one that no amount of yardage can hide. Green fumbled six times last season and already has five this year -- with a full six regular-season games to go.

"Do you take him out of the lineup because of that? I don't think we can," Sherman said of the fumbles. "He has too much explosiveness, so he can overcome those things."

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