- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 6, 2001

Darrell Green is a world-class athlete, of course. But in this day of awesomely capable athletes, that is a long list. A shorter list on which the Washington Redskin cornerback must rank very high, however, is that of class acts in the professional world of sports as an individual of character and dignity. Green has announced that he is packing it in after this season his 19th as a Redskin and a team record. That longevity alone would make him a standout in the bruising world of the NFL. That he's also a seven-time All Pro, the owner of two Super Bowl rings and destined for the Hall of Fame burnishes an uncommonly bright reputation.

"This is an exciting time. No crying or tears," Green said in announcing that he was hanging up his cleats. "My time is now. And the great thing is I get to play this year." That No. 28 will still be on active service, so to speak, this season is happy news for Redskin fans. More important, however, is that Darrell Green will continue to be an intimate part of the community directing his Youth Life Foundation here and expanding it to other cities. The foundation gives a hand to youngsters who often have no one or no place to turn. "We teach young people the right way to live," he said of the organization he began in 1988. "This is what is in my heart." In some of the pro sports neighborhoods, that's talk. Coming from Darrell Green means it can be taken to the bank.

The Washington Times' Thom Loverro put Green's announcement in the special category it deserves a rare species of fossil. "We have three dinosaurs leaving the sports world all at once two of them in baseball. Tony Gwynn and Cal Ripken, and now Green… . They are dinosaurs because all have played their entire careers with the same team … and if there is one common thread between all three of these dinosaurs, it is this: All have been deeply involved in community activities and affairs, and all hope to keep that commitment up, or, in Green's case, even increase it, after they leave the game."

Former teammate Richie Pettibon said, "He enabled us to take the opponent's No. 1 receiver out of the game by himself. I don't see how you get around the longevity. People don't realize how hard it is to play cornerback, and to do it for as many years as he has …" John Madden, the former coach and a fixture on league telecasts, once said that to play cornerback in the NFL one has to be "without fear and without memory." At a mere 5-feet-8-inches and weighing fewer pounds than a team training table buffet, Green took on the big boys Sunday after Sunday and could not have survived so brilliantly had he allowed the germ of self-doubt to affect his play or his focus on life when the game is over.

A class act, indeed. It's been a pleasure and a privilege to watch him over the years on the field, and it will be no less so in the years to come to watch him off it.


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