Willie Green (American football)

Last updated
Willie Green
No. 82, 85, 86
Position: Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1966-04-02) April 2, 1966 (age 56)
Athens, Georgia
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:195 lb (88 kg)
Career information
High school: Athens (GA) Clarke Central
College: Mississippi
NFL Draft: 1990  / Round: 8 / Pick: 194
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Receptions:237
Receiving yards:3,720
Receiving TDs:26
Player stats at NFL.com  ·  PFR

Willie Aaron Green (born April 2, 1966) is a former professional American football wide receiver who played for the Detroit Lions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Carolina Panthers, and the Denver Broncos in the National Football League. He played college football at the University of Mississippi.

Contents

Early years

Green was born April 2, 1966 in Athens, Georgia to politically active parents Willie and Corene. [1] He played football in 1984 and 1985 at Clarke Central, where he was not widely considered the best player on either team. Green himself admitted "I couldn't compete with them... The bottom line is I never thought I would play a professional sport in anything." [2] He transferred to the Tennessee Military Institute for his senior year. [2]

College

Green decided not to return to Athens and the University of Georgia, instead attending Ole Miss. He later commented his family encouraged him to cut childhood ties, and attend school in "a small country town (Oxford, Mississippi) so the only thing you could do was get your education and go to school. There wasn't enough room for trouble." [3] The lack of distractions paid off. After a 200-yard freshman season in 1986, Green led the Rebels in receiving yards each of the next three seasons, including a then-record 816 yards his senior year in tandem with future pro-bowl tight end Wesley Walls to finish his career with a then-school-record 2,274 yards. He was in the SEC's top 10 each of these three years in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns, [4] and was named second-team All-SEC as a senior. [2] As of 2017, he ranks 6th in career receiving yards, 7th for a single season, and 9th in career touchdowns. [5]

Ole Miss Statistics [4]

YearGRecYdsAvgTD
1986101322217.12
1987113458817.33
1988113864817.14
1989114181619.93
Career012622741812

NFL career

Green nearly went undrafted in 1990, finally being selected by the Detroit Lions in the 8th round (194th overall). A shoulder injury side-lined him his entire first season. However, in 1991 he emerged as the team's leading touchdown receiver with 7 TD, and finished third in yardage as part of a balanced receiving trio with Brett Perriman and Robert Clark. In the first round of the playoffs, Green had 8 receptions for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns in a win over the Dallas Cowboys. [6] Despite consistent play in the three seasons from 1991-1993, he was always overshadowed by all-star running back Barry Sanders and other receivers. "I've never been a superstar on any team... Every team I've been on, I've had to fight to stay alive," Green commented in 2000. [2] With the emergence of Herman Moore, Green was cut.

He was signed to a one-year deal by Tampa Bay, [7] where he had just 9 receptions in five appearances coming off the bench.

In 1995, the brand-new Carolina Panthers claimed him prior to the expansion team's first season. Despite starting only seven games, Green amassed 882 yards and a team-leading 6 touchdown receptions. In game 15 against Atlanta, he caught 89 yard game-winning touchdown (the second longest in team history) [8] as part of a record-setting 36.8 yards-per-catch afternoon, [9] and his fourth 100+ yard receiving game of the season. His 18.77 yards per reception in 1995 is still a franchise record as of 2017. Green recorded 46 receptions and 614 yards in 10 starts in the 1996 season.

Green finished his career in grand style, winning two Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos in 1997 and 1998. He started just two games, and contributed just three post-season receptions to the two championship runs.

NFL Statistics [10]

YearTmGGSRecYdsY/RTDLngY/GFmb
1991DET16153959215.2773370
1992DET15133358617.857339.11
1993DET1662846216.524728.90
1994TAM50915016.7028300
1995CAR1674788218.868955.11
1996CAR15104661413.335040.90
1997DEN1611924012.6231150
1998DEN1511619412.115012.90
Career114532373,72015.7268932.62

Later life

Green was active in his community as a teen, college player, and professional, contributing to community causes in his home of Athens, Georgia. [3] His unusual civic involvement earned him the nickname "The Mayor of Shelby" during his time with the Carolina Panthers. [1] He worked for several years as the owner of a local golf course and owner of a small check-cashing franchise. [2] In 2011, he returned to college at Gardner–Webb University, finishing the last 30 credit hours of a degree he began at Ole Miss. Following graduation, he became a vice-president of the lender World Acceptance Corporation. [1]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 "Willie Green: From Two Time Super Bowl Champ to External Affairs Vice President". www.nflplayerengagement.com.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Kendall, Josh (14 May 2000). "Willie Green". onlineathens.com. Online Athens.
  3. 1 2 ZIMANEK, BRAD (29 Jan 1999). "Player's Diary: Denver wide receiver Willie Green". amarillo.com. Amarillo Globe-News.
  4. 1 2 "Willie Green College Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com.
  5. See article Ole Miss Rebels football statistical leaders.
  6. "Dallas Cowboys at Detroit Lions - January 5th, 1992". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  7. "TRANSACTIONS". The New York Times. 6 July 1994.
  8. see list at
  9. "Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers - December 17th, 1995". Pro-Football-Reference.com.
  10. "Willie Green Stats".