Ahman Green's favorite superhero is Batman who certainly had a great sidekick in Robin. If Batman was in trouble, Robin would swoop in to help him out. If Batman had his hands full with 10 bad guys, Robin would take out five of them. That's how things worked with the Dynamic Duo.
Green's sidekick in the Packers locker room is fullback William Henderson and while he may not play second fiddle to Green in terms of experience, Henderson sure looks out for his partner and takes pride in protecting him. "We've been called 'Batman and Robin' a couple of times but I can't claim that," Green laughed. "William is a little bit older than me and Robin was the young guy. We do have some 'Robins' in our locker room but William isn't one of them."
The last three years Green made a point to persuade other players to vote Henderson to his first Pro Bowl. This year the campaigning paid off and the pair was able to enjoy Honolulu together and share in the experience of representing the NFC in the annual NFL all-star game. Green felt the honor was long overdue for Henderson, a 10-year veteran. "I know what a fullback is supposed to do from my years at Nebraska," Green said. "He's supposed to block and pick up the blitz and do all of that stuff. That's what William has done. If you look at it, there have been a whole bunch of 1,000-yard backs running behind him. Edgar Bennett, Dorsey Levens and myself. Respect has to be given when it's due."
When the announcement finally came that Henderson had made the NFC's Pro Bowl roster, Green and his Packer teammates were even more excited than Henderson. "Ahman and Donald Driver tackled me when they found out I made it," Henderson recalled. "I was blown away that I made it but I was even more overjoyed by how excited and how prideful they were for me. They gave me a lot of love letting me know how proud they were that I had finally gotten there."
While Green was adamant about Henderson's credentials to play in the Pro Bowl, Henderson is satisfied to be healthy, happy and playing for a perennial post-season contender in Green Bay. "Whether it's 10 years to be a Pro Bowler or just 10 years to be playing in the NFL, I'm just happy to be doing what I'm doing," he said. "The fact that it took 10 years for me to get recognized as a Pro Bowl player? I'm just happy they recognized me at all. It's a thing where I'm enjoying the fact that I'm part of a great organization and a quality team playing with guys like Ahman who give it their all day after day."
As a four-time Pro Bowler himself, one might think there isn't much Green can learn from Henderson. But Henderson's dedication to staying in shape and working hard is something anyone, no matter how successful, can admire. "He's a guy that, if you see the way he worked in the off-season, you'd know why he's been in the league for 10 years," Green said. "That's what I'm trying to do."
Having just completed his seventh NFL season himself, Green feels the need to emulate Henderson's worth ethic in hopes of extended his own career as long as possible. "I'm getting to the point where I know I have to keep the workout regiment going," Green commented. "I can't take a month off after the season and then get back into it. Now I take maybe a week off and then crank it right back up again. The years are coming and the body is getting a little older. It would be harder to get back into shape if I wait longer so I make sure I stick to it. From watching William the last few years since I've been a Packer, that's gotten me in tune to that part of my game and I will pass that along to the young guys on our squad."
Henderson, who has played in at least 15 games in all 10 of his NFL seasons, may be the grizzled veteran but that doesn't mean he can't learn some new tricks from Green who has rushed for 1,000-yards each of the last five seasons since arriving in Green Bay following two years in Seattle. "When you look at this man who I work with every day, he's the ultimate professional," Henderson said of Green. "When coaches come through Green Bay, even just to visit, they always remark about how professional he is and how he finishes down the field. He does the little things to make the plays look easy in the games because he just transfers it over from practice."
As a bruising blocker who takes on any and all defenders, Henderson also respects Green's ability to absorb contact while delivering some pain to the defense. "He's a tempo setter," Henderson declared. "I go out there as a fullback with my purpose being to set the tempo, make that first contact and establish that it's going to be a very physical game for the defense. But typically I don't get the chance because when Ahman gets the ball he punishes the defensive lineman, linebacker or defensive back that stands in his way. He truly is a tempo-setter when it comes to playing ball and he goes after it like the old-school guys."
With 10 years under his belt and his goal of reaching the Pro Bowl met, Henderson has been laughing off questions about retirement. He still believes there is plenty to accomplish including keeping Green healthy and productive. "I'm not going to leave until Ahman is satisfied," Henderson said. "And he also has to be satisfied with my replacement meaning that even if I'm not the best fullback out there, I know in my heart that I will protect Ahman because he is like a brother to me."
Green believes that even when Henderson does decide to hang it up, the legacy he will leave behind will ripple through the Packers locker room for years to come. "I would say William is one of Green Bay's legends," Green stated. "He has continued success and gets a lot of respect around the league. He has set the bar for fullbacks in the Packers organization. That is what is expected of a young fullback coming to join us. You have to block for the tailback and not complain about much. We occasionally throw the big dog a bone and let him carry it out of the backfield. But he catches the ball out of the backfield and is a leader. From the fullback position, you can be like William and be a role model for your teammates and around the NFL."