Ahman Green returned home, where he almost certainly will be enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame someday. The countdown toward that day began on Thursday, when Green, the Packers' all-time leading rusher, officially retired from professional football.
"You don't think about this day a whole lot, but it's here," he said. "Since '07 and I left and went to Houston, a big part of me was here."
Green was presented to the media by Packers General Manager Ted Thompson, who introduced Green as "my friend." Green later returned the endearment by thanking Thompson for bringing Green back to Green Bay in 2009, for one more season, a season in which Green broke Jim Taylor's team rushing record.
"My whole time here in Green Bay was awesome," Green said.
He arrived in Green Bay in 2000, the result of a trade with the Seattle Seahawks, who had drafted Green in the third round of the 1998 draft. With the Packers, Green's career exploded. He rushed for 1,883 yards in '03.
"In any other year I would've led the league in rushing," he said of the '03 season. Baltimore's Jamal Lewis topped the 2,000-yard to lead the NFL in rushing that year.
His big regret was leaving Green Bay for Houston.
"I'm not going to deny that one bit. I was literally sick to my stomach. To this day, I don't know why that decision was made. I'm a man. I have to live by that decision," he said.
Thompson's decision to bring Green back to Green Bay in '09 helped Green cope with his regret.
"I was given a great opportunity to come back here. That took some of the weight off my shoulders for that decision," Green said.
He ends his career with 8,322 yards rushing in his eight-year career with the Packers. He also holds franchise records for most yards from scrimmage (11,048), thousand-yard seasons (six), hundred-yard games (33) and rushing attempts (1,851). He's second in Packers history in rushing touchdowns with 54. Green is a four-time Pro-Bowler and led the NFL in rushing and yards from scrimmage from 2001-04.
Green is seeking his Masters from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and hopes to become a high school coach.