It should come as no surprise that the National Football League’s fastest man would be quick to move on in retirement.
Darrell Green ended his record 20-year career as a cornerback with the Washington Redskins fewer than seven months ago, but it might as well have been seven years ago. Training camp starts on Monday, and Green isn’t feeling that familiar itch to get back on the field.
“The focus of my life isn’t yesterday; it’s tomorrow,” the 43-year-old Green said this week over lunch at Emilio’s in Sterling Va., just a couple of miles from Redskin Park. “My tank is on empty. I don’t feel that need to compete anymore.”
If Green’s tank is empty, his life assuredly is not.
Green was a busy man off the field even during his playing days, managing his Youth Life Foundation and its half-dozen learning centers for underprivileged children and running his marketing firm, Darrell Green Enterprises.
That made his transition to retirement easier than it is for a lot of former players.
“I’ve seen so many players who are lost for the first two or three years after they got out of the game. And a lot of them didn’t have the finances to be able to be lost,” Green said. “Then all of a sudden they look at their bank accounts and realize, ‘I better wake up.’ I started praying several years ago that when I got out of football that whatever was biting these guys wouldn’t bite me.
“I’m not perfect in how to live like this. I’m still getting used to it. … But I’m happy. Unless someone asks me about football, I don’t really think about it.”
That’s because Green is too busy to miss the game.
In addition to the learning centers and the marketing firm, Green has started Trusted Solutions Group, an information-technology company, and Green Team Limousine.
He also is a minor investor in the group seeking to bring a Major League Baseball team to Washington and is the chairman of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
And of course, the devoted family man is spending more time with wife Jewell and their children: Jerrell, a rising senior at Flint Hill Prep; Jared, a rising freshman at Bishop O’Connell; and Joi, a rising eighth-grader at Flint Hill.
“When I was playing, there was only so much time to give,” Green said. “Sixty or 70 percent of my time was regimented. People knew there were only so many hours when I was available. Now everyone thinks I’m just sitting around, so they call all the time. I’m busier than I was when I was playing.
“I could be on the phone all day. I could be speaking to groups every day. I’m constantly hearing, ‘Can you do this? Can you do that?’”