He’s fast, but is he Dad Fast?

Best Seat in the House column by Chris Graham
sportsdom@ntelos.net

He gets asked the question all the time.

So, can you outrun the old man?

Jared Green is a D1 wide receiver who can get up the field with the best of them. But the old man is Darrell Green, the longtime fastest man in the NFL and recent inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I’ve never really raced my dad, ever,” the younger Green said on Monday, after a whirlwind weekend that had him on the stage in Canton introducing Darrell Green for induction into the Hall. He almost didn’t join him on the stage as a fellow football player. According to Jared, Darrell tried to dissuade his son from playing football. “I spent 15 years trying to get him to let me play,” said Jared, who finally was able to go out for football as a high-school freshman.

A reporter asked Jared Green why he thought his dad kept him from playing dad’s sport for so long. “I guess it’s like a father who’s a policeman not wanting his son to be a cop. After what he’s seen out on the field, and he saw a lot over 20 years – 20 years is a long career – so he didn’t want his boy to get hurt,” he said.

Green ended up playing on a state-championship team at Oakton his junior year and wowing the recruiters as a senior who caught 17 passes for 245 yards and four touchdowns. But that wasn’t the reason that he pretty much knew all along that he would one day join pops in Canton. “My dad was always considered a future Hall of Famer while he was playing, probably in the last three years of his career. I would always say, Dad, maybe one day you’ll get in the Hall of Fame, and when I said that, he said, You’ll be the one to send me in. So in the family, we’ve known this for years. It wasn’t a surprise,” Jared said.

He described the experience of being there for his father’s induction into the Hall of Fame as “living a dream.” The redshirt freshman also learned some lessons at the feet of the dozens of Hall of Famers on hand for the occasion that he probably ought to share with his teammates at UVa. “The one thing they stressed to my dad and to others was the fact that the Hall of Fame image is not truly found in the young athletes of today, in college and the NFL, the image and what the Hall of Famers stand for, the old legends. They kept saying, We have to keep that alive,” Green said.

Darrell Green has been instilling that idea in Jared Green since he could walk. “Just because you can score touchdowns or you can intercept the ball, I don’t think that qualifies you as an outstanding role model. And my dad, I think personally, not just because I’m his son, is the best role model a kid can have, especially a kid that aspires to be an athlete,” Green said of the influence of his father on his life.

Which gets us back to that other influence. You have to think that Darrell had to pass some of that speed on down the bloodlines, don’t you? Jared seems to think so.

“My dad saw some things this summer in me where he said, Hey, you got me. He told me that. So I guess it’s safe to say that I’m faster than him now,” Jared Green said.

A reporter broke in. “So you’re faster than some 40-year-old guy?”

“Yeah, some 40-year-old guy that recently ran a 4.4,” Jared Green retorted, not missing a beat.


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