GREEN BAY – Ahman Green is ready to say goodbye to football, or at least playing it.
The Green Bay Packers’ all-time leading rusher with 8,322 yards, Green announced on Green and Gold Today on ESPNMilwaukee.com and ESPNMadison.com Friday that he is retiring after 12 NFL seasons, eight of which he spent with the Packers.
Green, who is living in the Green Bay area and volunteer coaching football at De Pere High School, spent time with the Omaha NightHawks of the UFL and the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL after playing nine games with the Packers in 2009.
He said he hopes to sign a ceremonial one-day contract with the Packers but has yet to reach out to coach Mike McCarthy or general manager Ted Thompson. Technically speaking, Green’s last NFL contract was with the Packers, when he joined the team in ‘09.
Green left the Packers as a free agent following the 2006 season for a four-year, $23 million deal with the Houston Texans. Beset by injuries, Green ended up carrying the ball only 144 times for the Texans in two years before he was released.
Some fans criticized Thompson for letting Green go, but Green said it was his mistake, not the Packers’.
“Trust me, I was angry at myself for making that decision, to go down to Houston,” Green said. “But that’s the past. When I had the opportunity to come back, I jumped at it.”
He was just 47 yards shy of the franchise record when he left Green Bay, and when injuries struck the Packers’ backfield in 2009, the team re-signed him to serve as a backup to starter Ryan Grant. Green ended up carrying the ball 41 times for 160 yards in eight regular-season games, breaking Pro Football Hall of Famer Jim Taylor’s team rushing record in a loss at Tampa Bay.
“I knew it was going to be a limited role,” Green said of his return. “To break Jim Taylor’s record, that did a lot for me. It took a monkey off my back. That was on my mind when I went down to Houston. I never knew how close I was to breaking certain records. But when I was told how many yards I had left, I slapped myself, because I knew that could’ve been in one carry. When I left in ’07, I was 48 yards away (from setting the record). To be given that chance to come back and do that, I take my hat off to all the guys who help me do that.”
Green was named to four straight Pro Bowls and set the franchise’s single-season rushing record with 1,883 yards and scored 20 touchdowns in 2003, his fourth season in Green Bay after former Packers coach Mike Holmgren jettisoned him from Seattle for fumbling too much. On Friday, Green said he knew once he learned the Packers’ version of the West Coast offense, he would flourish.
“In Seattle, the problem with me, I was young and I was learning a new playbook,” Green said. “I went from learning and unlearning the option offense at Nebraska, to learning and then unlearning the Dennis Erickson offense, and then the West Coast. With three offenses in two years, I knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task. And that’s what took my focus off the way I played, when I fumbled, or when I missed holes or I didn’t pick up the blitz. I told myself, ‘Once I learn this offense, I’m going to be good at it.’
“I think once the trade happened, that was a blessing. All I wanted was an opportunity to be a football player, and to be a good one. I just needed to be given that chance, and that’s what I got in Green Bay.”
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