Green Bay Packers free agent Ahman Green gets jump on future career in teaching
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Green Bay Press Gazette
It took a couple days for De Pere High School students to get used to the idea that Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green was one of their teachers.
“The first day was, ‘Oh my God, Ahman Green is walking around the school,’” said Green with a smile on Tuesday morning while standing in the high school commons. “(They) got over the awe affect.”
Green is an 11-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowl player who became the Packers’ all-time leading rusher last season. He is an unrestricted free agent and at age 33, his football future is uncertain.
Instead of waiting for the Packers or another NFL team to call, Green is getting a head start on his next profession. He is serving a teaching internship and works part-time with at-risk and special needs students.
In a sign of the times, when Green began his internship in mid-February, many more students asked for a cell phone picture with him than his autograph.
“After that I had to tell everybody, ‘I’m Mr. Green now,’” he said.
He has no trouble commanding attention, but not just because he’s a high-profile athlete.
“Kids’ ears perk up when Ahman speaks,” said De Pere special education teacher Andrew Steger. “He adds to the class and relates real well to the kids.”
Steger adds with a chuckle: “In between class time, kids ask him about his big truck (or) will talk about him and what his character will do in ‘Madden 2009.’”
Green’s short-term goal is to play for the Packers this season, so he’s keeping himself in tip-top shape. Green and his agent have spoken to Packers General Manager Ted Thompson.
“It’s really something that they’re going to look at the draft and go from there,” Green said.
His long-term plan is to earn a teaching certificate and eventually a master’s degree and work in education. Football is his first love, but he also has a passion for education. As a kid growing up, he loved school.
“I would be busting out the front door of my house to get to school because I loved learning,” said Green, who earned a bachelor’s degree in geography.
He wants to impart that same enthusiasm to students now.
“What I love about Ahman, he has stepped right up,” said De Pere High School principal Annette Brace. “He doesn’t hold back. If kids ask him questions, he answers questions. If he sees somebody kind of sitting in the back, he says, ‘Hey, come on up here and have a conversation and talk with us.’”
Green appears to be a natural with high school students. Some view teenagers as a challenge, but Green takes a different view.
“If you know high school kids … every day you don’t know what you’re going to get,” he said. “That’s the fun part.
“Everything (I say) won’t stick, but I know something will that will keep them motivated, get them to set a goal in life and go after it.”
Green wasn’t shy about sharing his wisdom with younger Packers teammates last season. Some are convinced his midseason signing helped light a fire under starting running back Ryan Grant.
“I’m not one of those old guys that I’m stuck in my ways and say get away from me,” Green said. “I’m not a grumpy old NFL veteran. I just kept myself open.”
His willingness to offer advice was appreciated in the locker room. Now the same can be said in the classroom.
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