His college team won seven games in three years and a player revolt helped eliminate a head coach (Bob Ward). As a professional, he played his rookie season on a 1-13 team. He has never participated in a playoff game in six years and is now roiling on a team that has lost three straight with a good chance to finish 2-12 in 1977.
So why does Tony Greene, the University of Maryland man now playing free safety for the Buffalo Bills, sound so bubbly over the telephone, even as the wind-chill factor outside the door is "near zero and they're talking about more snow."
"Look, I'm a professional, and I think we have a chance to win the rest of our games," he said during a break in the Bills' nippy practice yesterday. "We can get a little respect, get something positive going for next year, and maybe even spoil somebody else's playoff dreams.
"We play the Redskins, and Miami in the last game. We think we have a chance in every game we play. I mean if it isn't possible to beat Washington why bother showing up? We'll be hitting as hard as they will. Sure the odds are against us, but there's nothing new about that."
It has always been that way for Greene, who was so small as a sophomore at Gaithersburg High School that the coaches told him not to bother going out for football.
But Greene persited, and wound up quarterbacking Gaithersburg's 1966 team to a 10-0 record and a county championship.
"He led the county in scoring that year," recalled his high-school coach, John Harvill, "and he also played safety for us. He couldn't have been more than 5-foot-5 and 150 pounds.
"But we ran the old belly series and we had a great tail back, Calvin Fitz. A lot of times, Anthony - I still call him Anthony - would just stick it in Fitz belly, pull it out and take off around the end. No one could catch him."
Few colleges recruited Greene although Maryland was willing to take a chance. "He was just an all-around talented athlete so we went after him," said Ralph Hawkins now the Redskin secondary coach, but at the time a Maryland assistant.
Hawkins also was responsible for signing Greene to his first professional contract after all NFL teams passed over him in the 1970 draft. Hawkins was coaching the Bills' line-backers that year, and convinced his superiors to take a gamble on the little one.
"Yeah, they all said my size was against," said Greene who is still only 5-10 and 170 pounds. "They also tell me, there were a lot of good defensive backs that year and the fact I played on some pretty bad teams couldn't have helped much either."
"I signed him as a free agant," said Hawkins. "He had just run a 6.1 in a 60-yeard dash at a track meet and several teams (including the Redskins) were interested in him. I remember during training camp everybody wanted to cut him except myself and our secondary coach. Eventually, he did enough good things to merit keeping him, and he turned into a fine player.
"He's also a great kid a real leader up there," Hawkins said. "He has quickness, instincts, he tackles well for his size and he has super speed."
Adds Harvill: "And he's never forgotten where he came from. When he's in town, he'll always call up, drop by school and talk to the kids. Last year, he flew in just to take his mother to dinner on her birthday."
In 1974, Greene was voted his team's most valuable player, ahead of O.J. Simpson, and also was selected all-pro.
At the moment playing with a Buffalo defense that is ranked 11th overall in the AFC he has seven interceptions second best in the league and is only nine interceptions short of breaking the Bills' record of 40.
All those things are nice," said Greene, "but you can't get very much satisfication out of this game unless you win and we haven't done very much of that.
"This year we thought we had a chance for some good things. A lot of people say not having O.J. around has hurt us. He's the greatest running back ever to play as far as I'm concerned, but we lost our first four when he was with us, so that's not the problem.
"At times we play well defensively, but the big play has hurt us. The biggest problem we have here is that we've had so many turnovers in personnel the last three years. There's been so much shuffling, you hardly even know each other."
And now, of course, there is talk that Jim Ringo Greene's third head coach in those seven years will be relieved of his duties once the season is over "and you can't help but think about that," Greene said.
"Everybody respects Jim and you can't blame him for what's happening out on that field. We've just played badly. We did beat New England and Atlanta and we hurt them for the playoffs. We've had close games with Baltimore and Cleveland, so I know the potential is there. And nobody around here is giving up I can tell you that."
The Redskins had a two-hour closed practice in the fog at Redskin Park yesterday and team sources indicated that Joe Theismann was still operating the first-unit offense and will open at quarterback against Buffalo . . .Center Len Hauss (broken rib), defensive tackle Bill Brundige (sprained foot) and linebacker Chris Hanburger (sore knee) are listed as questionable . . .Fullback John Riggins and defensive end Dennis Johnson (knees), are listed as definitely out of the Buffalo game . . .Fullback Clarence Harmon (sprained ankle), safety Jake Scott (broken ribs) and tight end Jean Fugett (bruised foot) are listed as probable.