Green gets another shot at NFL
Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2003
With the way teams can sign and release players and longtime starters on any day can sit down next to an empty locker, there’s a reason why the NFL can stand for Not For Long.
Add former Alcorn State linebacker to Louis Green to the list of believers. He spent a season in NFL Europe after getting signed by the Broncos &045; he was initially signed by Baltimore in 2002 &045; before the team let him go just before the start of the regular season. But after the team’s corps of linebackers have become decimated by injuries, the team gave Green a call to come on back Nov. 18.
It can be a here-today-gone-tomorrow business, and Green is just hoping things don’t go like that again. The Broncos re-signed him to the practice squad to create some depth at linebacker.
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&uot;I’m just trying to make the best of it,&uot; Green said. &uot;I’m not worried about getting cut. All I want to do is just play. The best practice I ever had I had (Wednesday). I know I can play if I’m given the chance to play and show what I can do.&uot;
Back in training camp, he got a chance to showcase his talents more so on special teams than at linebacker &045; which really wasn’t a problem since that’s the avenue many undrafted guys take to make it in the NFL.
The end result, however, didn’t go over well, but he realizes, like anything else, the league is a business. It’s just like a job, and they’re going to take the best possible candidates.
&uot;When I got cut, I talked to (head coach) Mike Shanahan,&uot; he said. &uot;He said they liked me. They had linebackers they drafted and had another guy who could play all three positions. They were going to keep six linebackers. He told me if anything came up with injuries, they’d sign me back. I guess it’s another second chance.&uot;
The Broncos’ injury situation has gotten severe, and Green may get a shot at the active squad the way things are going. Pro Bowl middle linebacker Al Wilson has a pinched nerve in his neck, Ian Gold tore an ACL, John Mobley hurt his neck and rookie Terry Pierce has a torn pectoral muscle.
As a member of the practice squad, Green doesn’t work out with the normal starters but waits for the opportunity to get placed on the active squad &045; meaning he’ll suit up on the sideline on Sunday.
&uot;Practice squad is what it is &045; practice squad,&uot; he said. &uot;I do the scout team offense &045; I’m actually playing fullback and playing linebacker. I’m just trying to work my way up. One of the coaches told me to keep doing what I’m doing and who knows where I’ll be at the end of the season.&uot;
Now it’s a slower pace now in the regular season than training camp, and being in the same system is an advantage. At this level, knowledge is the key more than anything else to stick around in the NFL.
&uot;I know I can play this game and play at this level,&uot; Green said. The only thing they have as an advantage is they’ve been here and know the system. Once you get in the system, you’re in. Guys who have been here seven or eight years know how everything works. I’m making the best of it now.&uot;
is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3632 or by e-mail