- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 13, 2005

Trent Green won a Super Bowl ring with St. Louis. He has started 68 consecutive games for Kansas City and he quarterbacked the Chiefs to the AFC West title in 2003. But Green still wonders what might have happened if he had never left Washington in 1999.

A career third-stringer until replacing Gus Frerotte in the 1998 opener, Green threw 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions in the last nine games that season while leading the previously 0-7 Redskins to a 6-3 finish.

“I wanted to stay,” Green said. “I enjoyed working with [coach] Norv [Turner]. My wife and I enjoyed the city. The organization was great to us.”

However, with the franchise up for sale, the trustees of the estate of late owner Jack Kent Cooke prevented general manager Charley Casserly from negotiating contracts until the eve of free agency.

“The first offer they gave me wasn’t that earth-shattering,” Green said. “Had they offered me that deal a month prior, I may have taken it. But when you get that close to free agency, it was a chance for me to test the market and see what was out there.”

So Green left for a better offer from his hometown Rams.

“Trent ran the machine real well,” said Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil, then coaching the Rams. “He utilized the talent around him well. He functioned well within the system, which was basically the same system we were using. [Offensive coordinator] Mike Martz had coached him in Washington and he liked him. So we took a shot.”

But Green took a devastating shot to his left knee in the 1999 preseason, opening the door to Kurt Warner’s rags to riches story. Green sparkled in five starts when Warner was hurt in 2000, before Vermeil, who had retired after the Super Bowl, resurfaced in Kansas City in 2001 and traded for him.

Green has been the Chiefs’ quarterback ever since, passing for 16,982 yards, second only to Indianapolis’ Peyton Manning during that span. Green was the only quarterback with a passer rating over 90 in each of the past three seasons and his 87.5 career rating is seventh in NFL history. The only other passers with consecutive 4,000-yard seasons are Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Dan Fouts and MVPs Brett Favre and Manning.

“Trent has exceeded my expectations,” Vermeil said. “He’s the kind of guy that coaches love. He’s extremely accurate. He can handle a huge volume of offense. He can handle adjustments made from series to series. Nothing really rattles him. [He has the] ability to lead and keep the guys around him focused. They trust him and respect him … for the way he came up and what he’s gone through.”

And still goes through. After four surgeries and extensive rehab, the 35-year-old Green’s knee still isn’t right. He has a workout room next to the master bedroom to make working with the knee easier on a daily basis. That kind of dedication is a Green trademark.

“Trent was a born quarterback,” Redskins center Cory Raymer said. “He was the first one here every day and the last one to leave, not because he was supposed to, but because that’s the way he was. Trent’s not the most talented quarterback and he doesn’t have the strongest arm, but when he walks out on that field he knows everything about his opponent. We were all excited when Trent finally got a chance to play and we were all sad to see him go. This team has been through so many quarterback changes. It would have been nice to drop anchor with one quarterback and have him through the years.”

But as Green said, he has found a home in Kansas City, where only Hall of Famer Len Dawson has accomplished more at quarterback.

“I would definitely have liked to have played a lot sooner, but it’s definitely a journey that has been worthwhile,” said Green, who was cut by San Diego and spent time in the CFL before coming to Washington in 1995. “Because of the learning process I went through, I was a lot more prepared when I did get a chance to play and when I had to face the adversity of going through the knee injury and all the surgeries. [But] if the Cooke family had been able to keep the team, it would’ve been interesting to see what would have happened.”

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