Friends Roast, Toast Green
Friday, June 27, 2008
Mike Patterson

As someone who has rushed for almost 9,000 yards in the National Football League, Ahman Green has shown that he's a man with many moves.

But Thursday night, all he could do was sit there and take it.

Several friends took friendly jabs at Green, who was honored as the 117th face on the Omaha Press Club's barroom floor. Fittingly, the good-natured roast was held at the Scoular Building located across the street from Green's alma mater of Omaha Central High School while the press club undergoes renovations.

Among those taking part were Nebraska Athletic Director Tom Osborne, former Green Bay teammates William Henderson and Marco Rivera, ex-high school teammate Jono Bradford and Green's uncle, Michael Green.

The barroom drawing, as done by former World-Herald artist Jim Horan, traces the halfback's illustrious career. He is seen running the ball for Central, Nebraska, the Seattle Seahawks, the Green Bay Packers and his current team, the Houston Texans.

Green said before the roast that he wasn't worried, and was eager to hear what people had to say about him. But as each speaker took turns getting in some pretty good digs at the four-time Pro Bowl back, all Green could do was smile and shake his head.

There were a few recurring themes, including Green's affinity for Batman. More than once, the roasters paused to tell Green who has a tattoo of the Caped Crusader's logo on his left calf that Batman was indeed a fictional character.

Green's questionable fashion sense was another easy target for his Houston Texans teammates, who appeared in a short video. Most mentioned his ultratight, stone-washed jeans that were more nostalgic than trendy.

Osborne needled Green when recalling an encounter he had with the running back before his freshman season with the Huskers. The former NU head coach had asked Green if he had set any goals for his first year.

"Ahman told me he'd like to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first," Osborne said.

But the coach also pointed out Green's immense contribution to the Huskers, including a 206-yard effort in a 42-17 victory over Tennessee in the 1998 Orange Bowl. Osborne added that Green's ongoing interest in the youth of America, with his camps and his connection with the Boys and Girls Clubs, also had made a major impact on many lives.

Henderson, the Packers' fullback during Green's days in Green Bay, kidded Green about his hair ("It looks like a widow's peak, something out of The Munsters") his affinity for video games ("The coaches need to text him his playbook") and his love for movies ("He's the only guy I know who can recite dialogue from 'The Princess Bride.'")

But Henderson also lauded Green for "putting his heart and soul in everything he does."

Former high school teammate Bradford said it probably wasn't a coincidence that Green recently was inducted into the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame and then honored by the Press Club.

"We don't get many Texans games on TV here," he said. "People probably figured that you had retired."

Bradford also mentioned that Green recently had been married for the third time, which was higher than the number of touchdowns (two) he scored last season with Houston.

Rivera, a former teammate with the Packers, got in some good shots via video. He held up a Rolex watch that Green had bought for each member of the offensive line after a 1,000-yard rushing season, adding that there were just two things wrong with it.

"It doesn't fit," he said, "and it hasn't worked for three years."

As the final speaker, Green thanked his family and friends for being part of his "journey."

"It feels good to be a part of this," he said. "I really feel honored."

He then concluded his talk by turning toward the men who had spent most of the night roasting him.

"I'd like to thank you guys," he said. "And trust me, there will be payback."

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