- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green said he will "absolutely, unequivocally, guarantee" to retire next year.
"I do have plans with my life that goes beyond football," he said.
But those plans are on hold. Green yesterday reversed his pending retirement at season's end after recent fan support made him realize the extensive impact his 19-year career has on the community. Five large banners hanging at FedEx Field during the 20-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday didn't encourage the Redskins' chances for the playoffs, but asked Green to return for a team-record 20th season. After all, the seven-time Pro Bowler is the last connection to coach Joe Gibbs' championship era.
Green took another look in a season of memories and knew it wasn't time to leave. Perhaps his preseason retirement announcement was hasty.
"What kind of woke me up was there's a lot of people that really think a lot of what I've done," he said. "Some would like to honor me and to do that it takes preparing. I got some sense of urgency to say, 'Wait a minute.'"
However, Green first needed to reconcile with coach Marty Schottenheimer and gain his wife Jewell's blessing.
Both Green and Schottenheimer admitted miscommunication fueled an underlying dispute since training camp. Schottenheimer tried to change Green's technique and treated him the same as younger players during the grueling camp. Green felt he wasn't given a fair chance to start and was "sent to the back of the bus." It was not until a meeting yesterday that Green understood Schottenheimer's actions.
"I said, 'Coach, you don't know me or owe me anything,' but what I didn't say was, 'Coach, I want to win a Super Bowl or be an All-Pro,'" Green said. "I took for granted he did know me and my football [career]. That was the mistake I made which I think is how everything got started. He had a responsibility to the team and that set the tone of how we moved forward. He did know I was 41 and not a starter the previous year. I can honestly understand why he moved the way he moved."
Said Schottenheimer: "Any issues Darrell and I have had, and there have not been many but a couple, are the product of not very good communication. He's still a top, winning performer. He probably grades out as high as anybody we have in the secondary. [Older players] lose the emotional edge, that fire you used to have [but] Darrell hasn't done that, which is probably the most remarkable part."
Convincing Jewell Green to accept another year of extensive demands was a tougher task. Green often felt conflicted when balancing family, football and the Youth Life Foundation. Indeed, Green spent last night at the foundation's Christmas party after taking his daughter Jarrel to a doctor following a minor car accident on Saturday.
"I'm not home. I'm always gone. I'm always trying to raise money, trying to move the foundation. I've missed most of my 6 o'clock church meetings," Green said. "My boss [Jewell] said 'All right, if that's what you want to do let's do it.'"
Teammates were thrilled when informed of Green's decision after practice.
"Everybody around here loves to be around him," quarterback Tony Banks said. "He's a pleasure to watch in practice. You'd never know what his age was."
Said cornerback Fred Smoot: "If you still got it, you still got it. Why waste it? I was just joking he could play 10 more years and Darrell took it seriously."
Green's role has steadily decreased in recent seasons. Champ Bailey became the No.1 corner opposite Green in 1999. Deion Sanders was then given Green's job last year and second-round selection Smoot emerged this season over Green. However, Green expanded his long-time role from team elder to mentor for Bailey and Smoot.
"Darrell's the thing that keeps us together," Bailey said. "He always gives us real good criticism in our game. He tries to teach us a lot that he knows, but he doesn't overwhelm you with it."
Most Redskins are in their mid-20s so a graybeard like Green often takes some teasing. His music is different than what many players listen to in the locker room. He can remember the 1960s, not to mention the '70s when many teammates were born. Indeed, Smoot was born shortly after Green graduated high school.
"Darrell can probably draw on his 401K next year," linebacker Eddie Mason joked.

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