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Interview With Darrell Green

Aired September 4, 2003 - 19:47   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Few minutes ago we had a chance to check in on the NFL Kickoff Concert on Washington's National Mall. Want to go back to the Mall now and talk with the former Redskin Darrell Green, No. 28, joining us.
Darrell, good evening. Thanks for being with us.

DARRELL GREEN, FMR. REDSKIN: Glad to be out here.

KAGAN: Kind of strange with the season kicking off to not have the uniform and pads on?

GREEN: You know what? I don't feel strange. I feel great being out here. I guess it's because I played 20 years. I just feel like my cup doesn't run over, it's empty. So I feel great out here with the people. My wife and kids are out here. We're enjoying something that we probably never would have had the chance to enjoy had I kept on playing until I was 300 years old.

KAGAN: And some people thought that might be happening at a certain point, Darrell. I would beg to differ. Your cup is not empty. It is very, very full and we expect to see you one day in Canton making it into the Hall of Fame there.

Let's talk about a little about the NFL and how it looks right now. I think the biggest controversy at this point, talking preseason, the talk of too many preseason football games. What do you think about that?

GREEN: Well, you know, it depend on -- it depend on what perspective you're talking about. I think that the players would say, Man, I don't need this. But you know what? You do. And you need to get -- you need to get trained. You need to get physically fit, tuned it in or honed in, you know? They think they come to practice in shape, but you still need that. I think that is good for the community. The team -- or players or people that don't have tickets, you know, they get to see some preseason games and introduced to the new players.

I don't know. I mean every year you can have -- you can make up some problem and if you just follow problems, you would never get a rest. So I think it's fine the way it goes.

You know, but I'm not in charge. But I don't think it's a problem at all.

KAGAN: Not of that.

Also, let's talk about depending on what side of the ball you look at that controversy. I think a lot of the talk came up because you saw a lot of key quarterbacks knocked out, Chad Pennington playing -- was supposed to play for the Jets, who your Redskins are facing tonight. Michael Vick here in Atlanta both knocked out in preseason games.

As a defensive player all those years, did you ever get tired of all the whining? You got to protect the quarterback, you got to protect those defensive players?

GREEN: Well, no, I didn't. I looked at it as a business. I know that the big guys over that (ph), they bring the fans in, they make money. But by the same token, you can't put a dress on them. You can't put them in an armored suit. And by the same token, what if he gets hurt on the first game? So if you're going to keep chasing your tail you're going to have problems. It' is a tough game and that's the way it goes.

I felt bad for Michael Vick. If I had any information or advice for him I would say, call the great Doug Williams, who taught all the young guys how to not run around but how to throw the ball. And I think that if you run the ball like that, it's only a matter of time. You want to be a running back you need to be a running back, you need to be a running back.

But as a quarterback you got to throw the ball and I kind of think that the staff and everybody over there has got to feel bad. I'm starting to feel bad for him. He's one of our local kids.

But that's the way the game goes. Don't try to start taking games away and putting dresses on people and all that stuff. Let's keep playing the game.

KAGAN: Dresses on the quarterback.

And as far as Michael Vick scrambling, I think the folks in Atlanta would beg to differ. They love to see him scramble out of the pocket like that.

Another controversy I want to ask you about that leads into tonight's


KAGAN: Yes, I know. Leads into tonight's game, and that is Jets and Redskins. Little bit of rivalry working here. The Redskins, your team, plucking three or four key free agents from the Jets and they're not too pleased about that going into tonight's game and going into a very competitive season.

GREEN: Well, I think unfortunately the rivalry can't begin until after the game because you've got to see what players from which teams help the other teams. And so that's going to be very important. If the players from the Jets helped us beat them, then they'll be mad. If they don't help them beat the Jets, then I don't see the rivalry at all.

But that's the way it is. I think that's good. You know, free agency came years ago, guys get to move around, coaches have put an onus on the coaches and the general manager and leadership. You got to be able to find your players, bring them together quickly and be successful. If you don't, then you, then, you, the coach and everybody else are going to be run out of town. I can say that now because don't play anymore.

KAGAN: I bet you can. But you played for 20 great years and I would be remiss if I didn't give you a chance to talk about your great work not only with your youth foundation, not only when you were playing, but now that you've retired. We do so many stories in the media about athletes gone wrong but there are good guys like you out there, Darrell, doing some fine work. So tell us a little bit about the work you're doing with the young people of America and especially the Washington area.

GREEN: Well, I appreciate that.

You know, my life has been very simple. I've been married to one woman my whole career, faithfully, and I just tried to go to work every day like any normal man. My dad worked 30 years for Maxwell House Coffee, taught us to go to work. Do what you have to do.

But in terms of my youth, I believe (UNINTELLIGIBLE) in what I call the inarguables. Number one, all children need nurturing, all children need provisions, all kids need education. But once you're nurture, educated and provided for, then you to know how to live. So you need a moral compass. And so that's what we try to do. We try to take the basic fundamentals of child development, make sure they have what they need. But once they get to be the man -- I'm Darrell Green, I'm rich, I'm famous, whatever -- then they know how to go home to the same wife, be respectful to the boss, be a good boss, be good to their children, love their neighbors, serve their community.

And you know? That is America. And if we can get that back, we'll do it. And that's why (ph) I created the learning centers. We operate in D.C. We have affiliate programs going on as well as Nashville. We just have the one opening in Richmond, Virginia, as well as in North Carolina. And this is my life and I'm not trying to say it's better than anyone else. But you know what? It's a life.

KAGAN: Well, and you know what? Tonight that's our headline. An athlete, a former athlete, done good and doing good. And we appreciate your good work on the field and your good work after your career.

We'll see you in Canton a few years from now.

GREEN: All right. (UNINTELLIGIBLE). Take care.

KAGAN: Darrell Green, enjoy the game from the seats. GREEN: All right. Thanks for having me.

KAGAN: Thanks for being with us. Appreciate it. NFL kicking off, Jets at the Redskins.


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