Green Holds No Grudges With Seattle


It's not that Ahman Green is unaware of the significance, he just doesn't buy into it.

This weekend when the Green Bay Packers host the Seattle Seahawks, Green will go up against his former NFL team and former head coach Mike Holmgren for the first time since being traded away from Seattle prior to the 2000 season.

But if you think that would give the running back any extra motivation, you'd better think again.

"I'd say it's just another football team that's going to come up here and play," Green said. "For myself it's nothing special, nothing personal. Out there on the football field it's all business and just a football game, just like any other."

If this weekend's game is run of the mill, the deal that brought Green to Green Bay was anything but.

Stuck behind Ricky Watters and limited primarily to special teams duty, Green was unloaded by the Seahawks after only two seasons.

In return, Seattle acquired cornerback Fred Vinson in a package deal that also included a sixth-round draft choice, which netted defensive tackle Tim Watson.

While Green immediately became a 1,000-yard rusher for the Packers, Vinson suffered a career-ending knee injury and never suited up for the Seahawks.

Looking back, Holmgren still defends the original logic of the trade, but isn't blind to the ultimate results.

"Clearly it worked for the Packers and didn't work for us," Holmgren said this week. "We made the trade at the time because I was in desperate need for a cover-corner and we had Ricky Watters here ... (Green) was also -- I don't know if he would admit to this -- but he was having some asthma problems that I thought were fairly serious."

Green's history with asthma has been well documented, but if occasionally inconvenient, it hasn't stopped him from becoming the third-leading rusher (4,244 yards) in Packers history.

The condition certainly didn't slow him down last weekend when he piled up a career-best 176 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears, leading to honors as NFC Offensive Player of the Week, FedEx Ground Player of the Week and the Snickers Hungriest Player of the Game.

While quarterback Brett Favre still has to be considered the best player on the roster, the Packers' identity in two wins this season has been that of a running team.

In fact, Favre himself suggested this week that if the Seahawks want to halt the Packers' offensive attack, their first objective should be to stop the player they deemed expendable years ago.

"That's easier said than done," Favre said. "If our guys are ready then (the running game) is hard to stop."

In retrospect, the Seahawks weren't the only team to underestimate Green's abilities.

As a three-year starter at the University of Nebraska, Green became the school's No. 2 all-time rusher with 3,880 yards and 42 touchdowns. But he wasn't drafted until the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft and was the eighth running back selected overall.

Once in Seattle, Green hardly saw the field except on special teams. Yet Green maintains that he actually gained confidence as a player over that time.

"It was just more of a learning process," Green said. "I did the best I could do and I did a pretty good job, especially on special teams. So I'm very proud that I did have the opportunity to do that and I still give credit to special teams because it's a big factor. You never know how much hard work you put in there could pay off in the long run."

One month into his fourth season in Green Bay, Green could be poised for a career year.

He has 442 yards through four games and is running behind a healthy offensive line. Just as importantly, he's healthy, which wasn't always the case last season.

"It was to a point where at some games I wasn't at my full speed," Green said of 2002. "But I was able enough to be effective out there on that field. I mean, to be honest, I didn't know how injured I was myself sometimes. I just knew I had to go out there and do what I could.

"Once I felt I wasn't effective at all, then I'd take myself out, or need to be taken out, because I didn't need to hurt my teammates out there."

In order to keep Green fresh for the long haul, the Packers coaching staff is looking to give him more breathers during games this season.

That could lead to an overall decrease in Green's carries, but just like he did in Seattle the self-described patient player is content to make the best of his opportunities.

"Just give me a shot," Green said. "I'll show you what I can do."

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