My name is Deborah V. Green, Darrell Green's youngest sister. To say that I am proud of my big brother would be an understatement. . . . Words simply cannot express how I really feel about my brother and all of his many accomplishments.
I have always wanted to write a book about the life and times of Darrell Green, and as he embarks upon the end of his career, I definitely have a lot to write about. . . . My brother has always been my hero and I am so glad that he hasn't changed. He is still strict, serious and demands only the best from his little sister. I can truly speak for the rest of my family, we are all so proud of Darrell.
To Darrell, I love you and I have missed you tremendously. I thank God for you, your wonderful wife Jewell, and the children. I am also grateful for your in-laws, the Fenners; they have really taken care of you over the years. Hopefully we will have an opportunity to see more of you here in Houston. Please know that your four brothers, two sisters and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins are so honored just to know you and call you our very own. What a privilege!
Darrell you have made us so proud. We have never had to hold our heads down. I thank you for your faith, integrity and hard work. Don't ever change.
-- Deborah Green, Houston
Because I had helped Green with his Christmas party for inner-city children for many years, he promised to come visit my first-grade class at Carderock Springs Elementary several years ago. Darrell sat down with 30 6-year-olds on the floor in front of him and just chatted with them. He didn't talk about football, he talked about the children and their lives. He told them to set high goals and to work hard. "Most of all, listen to your parents and your teachers and do what they tell you to do." Another phrase he used was, "Work hard, do your best, don't ever give up." The message was clear to all.
A little boy with cerebral palsy presented Darrell with a school T-shirt. Michael sort of fell into Darrell's lap as he presented that shirt. Darrell took him into his arms and hugged him.
Darrell Green came as a football hero, but he sure left as a human hero that day.
-- Mary Ann Kelley, Kensington
Green has set the standard by which all other athletes in the area will be judged as role models. He is clearly a very religious man, but does not overtly proselytize or offend those who do not follow his beliefs. His primary motivation for playing football at age 42 seems not to be the personal acclaim he continues to receive and well deserves, but rather the financial benefit it gives his youth foundation, an organization that directly benefits at-risk kids without the red tape or insensitivity of public assistance.
Even if he never played a down of football, Green would be a treasure to this community. I certainly hope he continues to keep a very public profile after his playing days are over. We need more like him.
-- Burman Berger, Potomac
On Feb. 6, 2002, I saw a photo of Green wearing the retro 70th anniversary Redskins jersey. A magic feeling overtook me and I played his number, plus my other favorite players' numbers, in that night's Powerball drawing. I won $5,000 and made a contribution to his wonderful charity. I have lived in this area most of my life and have been a Skins fan for more than 30 years. There's a signed photo of Green on my wall at work and I'm proud to say that Green is my hero.
-- Dave Murphy, Washington
In the mid-1980s, we were playing in a softball tournament in Arlington. Green already was a Redskins star by then, and our whole team was pumped to play the Maranatha Mudsox, for whom Green played center field. The first thing you notice about Green is his smile -- you can see it a mile away, and it lights up the world. We witnessed his speed when he beat out a grounder before the ball was even fielded.
I know he just wanted to be "one of the guys" out there, but for me it was an honor to high-five him after the game. I wish I had half the class Green possesses.
-- Jerry Alkire, Chantilly
I am no big fan of the Redskins. In fact, I despise them. Yet there is one I have found impossible to dislike. Not only does Green have extravagant football skills, but he also is kindhearted and cares for the community. There are so many things to remember about him at the end of his remarkable career, but the one thing I will always remember is his persistence. He would push harder than any other player to reach perfection -- and if he made it, he would push harder. This is something he has taught me to do -- keep trying and pushing harder at whatever you do. His football plays have taught me a life lesson.
-- Leor Galil, Bethesda
The date was Jan. 26, 1992, the day my beloved Redskins would play the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVI. Like most of us, I watched on TV. An hour or so before the game, the television focused momentarily on Darrell; he ran turning effortlessly from side-to-side in a graceful, backward motion foreshadowing how he would cover from his cornerback position. All I had to see was him warming up. I knew that we would win.
Bill Goodrich, Falls Church
I'm sure you're going to get a lot of big replays. The interception return against the. . . . The punt return. . . . etc., etc. But the one and only thing we should and always will remember is the smile. I'm going to miss it.
-- Eddie Satinover, Wilmington, Del.
As a 40-year fan of the Redskins, there is no other player who makes me more proud of my chosen team. Through good times and bad, and especially lately, Green continues to carry himself with dignity, class and an elan unique to his profession. Ironically, his talent far exceeds his nice-guy image and appearance. We can only hope that current and maturing players at all levels will have exposure to the total package that he represents. The public, the coaches and the media all need to encourage others to emulate the respect, style and grace that Green demonstrates on and off the field.
-- Vince O'Keefe, Panama City, Fla.
One of my favorite memories of Green was one Sunday in the 1980s when the Redskins needed the Cowboys to win for Washington to make the playoffs. Many of his teammates were watching the game together, but Green was not there because he wanted to watch his child in a Christmas pageant. This told me what kind of man Green is.
-- Dan Baker, Arbutus, Md.
I can't possibly decide which play is more memorable: The punt return against the Bears in the divisional playoffs in which Darrell hurdled a tackler and tore rib cartilage on his way into the end zone, or that time in the wild-card playoff game against the Los Angeles Rams when he chased down Eric Dickerson and made a touchdown-saving tackle. It's a tough call to make, but I think it's very telling that his biggest plays came in the playoffs, when the Redskins needed them most.
-- Christian Glakas, Austin
As a child of Washington in the 1980s, my memories of Green's time in the NFL are intense and very fond. I grew up in a time when no game, no matter how hopeless, was out of reach, because the Fastest Man in the NFL could make an interception and turn the tide. Then I got older, and came to appreciate that his skill, joy and talent on the field were surpassed only by the boundless spirit of service he exhibits in his everyday life. I turn 28 in two weeks, yet I have not grown up so much that getting a jersey with that number on it for Christmas wouldn't light me up like I was 20 years younger.
Cameron McNary, New York City
Thanks for all the smiles, Mr. Green!
Stephen Schlachter, Annapolis
The road to Super Bowl XXII went through frozen Chicago. In Walter Payton's final game, Green stole the headlines. Tied at 14 in the third quarter, Green received a punt around midfield, sprinted down the right sideline, hurdled a tackler, and cut back to the inside on his way into the end zone for what would prove to be the winning score. Sadly, the magic move left Green with torn rib cartilage. Somewhere I read this quote from trainer Bubba Tyer: "He just jumped out of his ribs." But he jumped Washington into a title, and left me with an indelible memory of a hero outplaying his opponent.
-- Matthew Lowy, Missoula, Mont.
Back in the summer of 1998, I traveled to Frostburg to check out Redskins training camp. Of course, I sought out Green, my favorite Redskin and the player responsible for so many great plays over the years. But my revelation that day was his size. He wasn't that much bigger than me. Just think, a guy my size going against huge offensive linemen, taller receivers and punishing 240-pound running backs for all those years.
-- John Bonbright, Shepherdstown, W. Va.
The day my daughter, Shelley, received her Master's degree from Marymount University in May of 1999, Green received an honorary degree for his service to the community. I was not surprised at all that his speech at the graduation was both moving and inspirational, but it was what happened after the ceremony that has become my favorite Green memory. We were finishing up family pictures outside when I spotted Green and snagged him. He was humble and gracious and even posed for a picture with me, despite my ramblings about how much I loved the Redskins. The picture from that day in May is still proudly displayed on my refrigerator and serves as a constant reminder of how lucky we've been to have had Green on our team.
-- Carolyn Dunn, Suffolk, Va.
I am sad to see Green go but I will always remember the time he signed a five-year contract at the age of 40. I still keep a small clipping of that story in my wallet as a reminder that you can do anything you put effort into doing.
-- Jim Higgins, Logan, Utah
In 1989, my sixth-grade class at Aquina School in Woodbridge arranged for Green to come to our school, walk into my classroom and present to me their gift that year -- an autographed NFL football signed by him. It turned out the entire school knew he was coming except me. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life. Green was so gracious and kind to all the students and the staff, we were all thrilled. As I carried the football with me for the rest of the day, I got a taste of what it must be like to be a celebrity. I will always be grateful for his and their kindness.
-- Linda Christie, Woodbridge
I've never met Green, but over the years watching him play, listening to his wonderful humanitarian philosophy and outlook on life in and beyond football. . . . My greatest pleasure would be to meet him, look him in the eye and say, "Thank you."
-- Gregg Solomon, Pleasant Hill, Calif.