Green keeps running all the way to Hawaii
His third Pro Bowl meets expectations
Thursday, December 25, 2003
His third Pro Bowl meets expectations
By RICK BRAUN
Posted: Dec. 24, 2003
Green Bay - The news last Thursday that Ahman Green was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl came as a shock to exactly no one.
Why would it?
Green, a rare combination of speed and raw power, has stamped his name all over the Green Bay Packers' record book this season.
He surpassed Jim Taylor's 51-year-old record of 1,474 rushing yards in a season in the Packers' 38-21 victory over San Diego on Dec. 14, finishing the Packers' 14th game of the season with 1,538 rushing yards.
And Monday night in Green Bay's 41-7 blitz of the Oakland Raiders, Green rushed for 127 yards in 24 carries, improving his total to 1,665 and moving him ahead of New Orleans' Deuce McAllister (1,592) for the NFC lead.
Green also surpassed Dorsey Levens' record for rushing yards in a game, when his 192-yard performance against Philadelphia on Nov. 10 topped Levens' mark of 190 set in 1997.
After his big game Monday night, Green has rushed for at least 100 yards in a game a team-record nine times this season.
And he doesn't do it just on the run, either. Green's 358 receiving yards and 1,665 rushing, give him 2,023 total yards from scrimmage, leaving him second in the NFC behind McAllister's 2,102.
Green's has surpassed his own yards-from-scrimmage record of 1,981 set in 2001.
In the weeks leading up to Green surpassing Taylor's season rushing record, he continually insisted that individual records meant little to him. The consummate team player, Green again tried to deflect the spotlight from himself last Thursday when his selection to the Pro Bowl was announced.
"I just take my hat off to the guys on our line and William (Henderson) and everybody blocking for me that helped me get there, Green said. "A lot of other guys should have been there, too, along with me."
But he did appreciate the honor from his peers.
"It just goes to show the respect that I've earned playing the past four years here in Green Bay," Green said. "That's a good thing because the people know about me and my peers know about me. And I know about them - some of the guys that I voted for that made it into the Pro Bowl."
While Green wasn't about to talk about himself too much, his teammates didn't mind pumping him up.
"He's a great athlete," said backup running back Najeh Davenport. "I can't say there's one particular thing he does. He deserves it."
Tony Fisher, Green's other backup, sits next to Green in the locker room every day. Fisher sees Green as one of the most versatile backs in football. He runs with power and speed and delivers punishing blows to tacklers.
"He has the ability to do everything," Fisher said. "There are a lot of backs out there that just run the ball, but Ahman runs, receives and blocks. It's his diversity. He's able to go out there and do everything. That's probably the quality that helps him out a great deal . . .
"His running style - and it's been embedded in all of our heads - is that we never finish a run falling backward. We've always got to be leaning forward. Ahman is a great runner and it's a tribute to what he's been doing so far this year."
While Green was taking his selection in stride, he thought fullback William Henderson, who has led him into the holes and picked off linebackers and defensive backs for much of Green's four seasons in Green Bay, should have also been selected. Henderson was picked as an alternate.
"For him to be an alternate the third or fourth year in a row . . .," Green said, not finishing the thought. "I know he's definitely earned respect around the league and the guys we play against. I don't know what the final vote must have been. Maybe he had one vote less than somebody else. It had to be real close."
Henderson, who had been beaten out by Tampa Bay's Mike Alstott in previous seasons, was beaten out by San Francisco's Fred Beasley this time.
When Green was selected a year ago, he passed on the trip to Hawaii to recover from an assortment of injuries. This season Green has been healthy, and barring a late injury will be able to enjoy his honor.
"It's still a special achievement because you've gained the respect of the guys you've played against and the guys that have seen you that you haven't played against on other teams around the NFL and NFC," Green said. "That's basically what this game is."
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