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Ahman Green Interview: The Packers Hall of Famer Reflects on His NFL Career

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Packers franchise rushing yards leader Ahman Green spoke with Acme Packing Company to reflect on his induction into the Packers Hall of Fame, the 2003 season, and how he got involved in fantasy football.

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This past weekend, Ahman Green became one of the newest inductees into the Packers Hall of Fame. Arguably the most complete running back of his era, Green played for Green Bay from 2000 to 2005 and again in 2009, becoming the leading career rushing yards leader in franchise history. He sat down with Acme Packing Company to discuss his NFL career, the Packers' 2003 season, and getting involved in fantasy football.

APC: This weekend the Green Bay Packers inducted you in their team hall of fame, becoming the hall's 150th member. Do you believe this would have happened without your final stint in Green Bay in 2009 during which you became the career rushing yards leader in franchise history?

I think I would have, it just may not have been on the first ballot. After four years then you're eligible. Even if I didn't come back, I think I still would have had a good chance at getting in the Hall of Fame eventually if I didn't get voted in right away.

APC: How did the ceremony go? Did you have any idea what it would be like heading into it?

Oh it was great. I've been at the banquet before as a player receiving awards like the [Packers' team] MVP award. Three years ago, I received the record award with Donald [Driver]. He was the leading receiver, and I was the leading rusher in Packer history. We both got special awards that day. So I've kind of seen what the induction ceremony would be like and kind of knew what it would feel like. The golf event on Monday that was down in Sheboygan, meeting all the other inductees there were flown in, the whole event was a great, great experience. I got to enjoy it with my family, my wife and kids. They were with me at the banquet before. Now it was our turn. It was great to actually experience it, share a little bit of myself with my fans, make more fans, and become a member of a very elite fraternity of football players.

APC: In 2003 you enjoyed the greatest single season of your career, rushing for 1,883 yards, catching for 367 more, and totaling 20 touchdowns. Was there something different about that season that allowed you to be so effective?

I don't know. Every year it was always about hard work and teamwork that we all put in as a team. It all came together. It was my fourth year here, kind of like a senior year of college. Everybody working together and training together with the coaching staff for that long teaches you how to win together. By that time, we were gelling. Everything just came together. We didn't start the season off great, but we ended it great by getting into the playoffs with a win over the Denver Broncos and Minnesota losing to the Arizona Cardinals.

APC: Late in the third quarter during the Divisional round of the 2003-04 playoffs, the Packers faced a fourth and 3 from the Philadelphia 36. Head coach Mike Sherman decided to punt rather than go for it. This has been a widely criticized decision. What were your feelings at the time the decision was made and how do you feel about it now?

I'm still frustrated by it. It hasn't changed from what I felt at that time. Let's go for it. I think everyone in the offensive huddle wanted to go for it. I was the main one. Regardless of what they did to us on the one play earlier in the game that was on Coach Sherman's mind [the failed fourth-and-one conversion from the goal line in the first half], they're not going to stop you every time. We were averaging almost six yards per carry. So I think when you're in that situation, knowing what happened prior, you want to redeem yourself with a first down and solidify the victory. We woulda coulda shoulda played against the Carolina Panthers, but, you know, it didn't play out that way.

APC: While you're strongly associated with the Packers, your career didn't begin in Green Bay. What were you first two years in Seattle like, and why do you think they weren't as successful?

They were successful in my eyes. Everybody figures if a player gets drafted and isn't the starter right away it's not a good time for him. Really it's the other way around. It's an opportunity for that young player to get better. That's what I looked for when I got to Seattle. I knew once I got the chance to talk to the coaches that I probably wasn't going to be the starter, but I was going to be a backup and special teamer. It was an opportunity for me to show how great of an athlete I am.

I hadn't played a lot of special teams, but I knew what they were. You know, kickoff return, kickoff coverage, punt return, punt coverage. I was a kickoff returner in college, and I helped out on punt return from time to time. It wasn't foreign to me to jump in there, but now it was my full time job. It was actually a little easier and a lot less stressful.

When you're the starting running back or the starter at your position, your whole mindset is a little different. You're preparing for the whole game, holding onto the ball, protecting the ball, scoring the touchdown, picking up the blitzer, all that. As a special teamer, I might have only a handful of plays where I have to make something happen. Those years in Seattle were actually good for me, because I learned and got better as a person and an athlete.

APC: In August, you're working with fellow Packers alum Dorsey Levens and several others as part of a huge fantasy draft party in Milwaukee this August. How did you get involved with that project, and what is it about?

I got involved through Lammi Sports Management. When they brought it to me I said yes right away, because I'm a fantasy football player as well. I got into it right when I got out of the game. I play in a family and friends league. Everyone there really knows about football. That's the fun part about it. I'm involved with several other leagues too including an employee league at my training facility, D1 Sports Training. I still have to get the trophy for that league made up. [Laughs]

I can't wait for the Potawatomi Casino fantasy football draft party. I can take some tips and notes on who's going in the first round, second round, and so on. You know you have to get these quarterbacks and receivers early these days, because the game is all about passing now. When you go for running back, you have to get Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch, and now Eddie Lacy with Green Bay. They're going to go fast this year.

The Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Fantasy Football Draft Party takes place Thursday, August 28 at the Expo Center inside the casino. For more information, visit paysbig.com/fantasy.

Jason Hirschhorn covers the Green Bay Packers for Acme Packing Company. He also serves as a contributor at various publications. His work has previously appeared on Hook’em Headlines, Beats Per Minute, and Lombardi Ave.