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Name, not game, is Green

Posted May 12, 2012

CHARLOTTE - When the media interviews draft prospects at the annual NFL Scouting Combine, it's inevitable that someone will ask the player to name the toughest player he's faced at his opposing position.

Saturday at the Panthers' rookie camp, wide receiver Jared Green gave an answer you never hear at the combine.

"My dad's one of the best DBs I've gone against," Green said. "He's very intense."

Green's dad is none other than Darrell Green, a Hall of Fame cornerback who won two Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins. A seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time winner of the NFL's Fastest Man competition, the 52-year old allegedly ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash on his 50th birthday.

Now his son, who has been clocked at 4.33 in the 40, is trying to catch on fast with the Panthers as one of 12 undrafted rookie free agents taking part in minicamp. If he does, he'll owe his dad a pretty nice Father's Day gift.

"Right now he's launching something called WalkFitHealth Nation to help the fight against obesity and people out of shape. But besides that, his main thing is me," Green said. "He's always checking me out. Every time I get an opportunity to get on the phone, I'm talking to him."

Leading up to this weekend's camp, Green spent a lot of time in and around his parents' Ashburn, Va., home – about five minutes from the Washington Redskins training facility – getting ready for this moment.

"It could be in the yard, or it could be in the kitchen with little stuff. There's always a teaching point if we're talking or walking," Green said. "His biggest thing is showing me what it's going to look like. He doesn't want me in any way, shape or form to be surprised out there.

"The training that we've done leading up to this point, that's been huge. That's the physical aspect."

Green's mental training predates the drills that he and his dad have done since his senior year at Southern University wrapped up – to say the least.

"The mental aspect comes from being blessed to have gone to training camps and minicamps my whole life," Green said. "Everything about this is familiar to me - the schedule is familiar to me, and the intensity is familiar to me.

"I used to go to training camp with my father and sleep in the dorm. They would give him a room with two beds, and I would sleep there. I even went to meetings. I've been here before, but this is a great opportunity to do it myself."

Green's pedigree certainly got him noticed by NFL teams, but his statistics in college did not. In three seasons at the University of Virginia, Green totaled 35 catches for 363 yards in 35 games. He transferred to Southern for his senior season after graduating from Virginia caught 17 passes for 307 yards.

"I've had three head coaches in the last five years, maybe four different offensive coordinators," Green said. "Sometimes you just get swept away, and different coaches have different agendas. It's nothing personal, but it's the game.

"For me, I've never stopped being who I am, and that can be missed when it comes to scouting and drafting. Even though I haven't caught a hundred balls, I'm still me the receiver. I'm a speedy guy, an explosive guy who runs good routes and has good hands and is reliable."

Green said he heard from several teams that he could be a sixth- or seventh-round draft pick, and he hoped his time had come when the Panthers called him early in the seventh round. Carolina instead drafted California safety D.J. Campbell, but shortly after the draft the Panthers called back, and Green didn't hesitate.

"I basically fell in love with them way before, when I had worked out for them and had different conversations with them over the past few months," Green said. "So when other teams called, my heart was already leaning toward Charlotte.

"The environment around here is something I've never seen in my life. It's very friendly. Everybody is goal-oriented, and the leadership is amazing – and I haven't even met the vets yet. The leadership from the coaches and the way they've developed relationships with us in basically one day is amazing to me."

Green hopes this weekend is just the first of countless ones for him in Carolina. His father played 20 seasons for the Redskins, tied for the most with one team in NFL history.

"I'm a guy who has been a diamond in the rough my whole life and have missed opportunities here and there," Green said. "But everything's great. I'm living my dream."