- The Washington Times - Friday, September 28, 2001

"The Sniper" is coming back.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Trent Green returns Sunday to FedEx Field, where he was once a crowd favorite. He might receive a bigger ovation than Washington Redskins quarterback Tony Banks, who will start his first game after Jeff George's release Wednesday.
The Redskins' backup quarterback traditionally is more popular than the starter, and Green energized the fans with an unexpectedly standout season in 1998. After Jeff Hostetler was injured in the preseason finale and Gus Frerotte struggled in the season opener, Green threw three touchdowns in the second half of a 31-24 loss to the New York Giants. He only sat once more for the rest of the year.
Green, who was nicknamed by guard Tre Johnson for his bullet passes, threw 23 touchdowns and only 11 interceptions with a strong 81.8 rating in 15 games as the Redskins rallied after an 0-7 start to finish 6-10.
"I had a lot of fun," Green said. "I know that may be hard for people to believe because of the way we started off, but the way we finished showed the character of a lot of guys on the team and the character of the coaching staff. We were able to beat some teams contending for playoffs like Oakland, San Diego and Tampa Bay."
Defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson wasn't surprised about the success of Green after facing him on the scout team.
"Trent was so hot, so confident, and it showed," Wilkinson said. "Trent showed he deserved that position all along. The guy felt he belonged. When you have someone with that type of ambition, it's why he's where he is now. If you give him a chance, he will burn you. He's very accurate."
After throwing only one pass in four seasons before being promoted, Green was the hot free-agent passer. The Redskins' ownership was in flux with Howard Milstein unable to offer a new contract because his ill-fated bid was still under NFL review. General manager Charley Casserly was forced to deal with the trustees of Jack Kent Cooke's estate, who approved only a low bid.
Instead Green signed with his hometown St. Louis Rams. Coach Dick Vermeil arrived at the restaurant late for a meeting after rolling his truck en route; Green felt anyone so committed to meeting him after being involved in an accident would stick with him as a starter.
"A car broadsided his SUV and he flipped over in middle of downtown, crawled out the top window and kept walking down the street," Green said. "The fact he showed up with a torn sports coat and picking glass out of arm gave me an indication he wanted me there.
"We really liked it in Washington. We had been there four years, lived in the same place, our first child was born there. Then, with [Washington quarterbacks coach] Mike Martz going to St. Louis, it was too good of an opportunity to pass up because of the amount of indecision going on in D.C."
Unfortunately, Green missed 1999 with a torn knee ligament. Backup Kurt Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl victory and remains the starter. St. Louis dealt Green in April to Kansas City, where he has been reunited with Vermeil.
The two haven't had an easy start. Kansas City lost to Oakland 27-24 on Sept. 9 and to the New York Giants 13-3 last Sunday as Green struggled with a 57.6 pass rating and two interceptions. However, receiver Derrick Alexander's return from a preseason Achilles' injury should give Green more downfield options.
"A lot of it is getting used to the personnel I have here and them getting used to the system we're in," Green said.
Only eight Washington players remain from 1998, compared to four Redskins now with the Chiefs, but they're eager to reunite with Green Sunday with the latter in a horizontal position.
"I plan to get some licks on him," Wilkinson said. "There are some guys you really wouldn't mind taking out and some [like Green] you have respect for that you want to make the play without inflicting any harm."
Said defensive end Kenard Lang: "I'll whisper in his ear a lot. I want to hit him and talk to him, tell him how pretty he is."

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