Arguably one of the greatest defense backs to ever play in the National Football League, Darrell Ray Green paid a visit to students and staff at Texas A&M University-Kingsville not just to talk about his legacy, but on the impact his former school had on him in his pro football career.
Born in Houston, Green attended Jesse H. Jones High School where he was an All-State selection in track and an All-City pick in football before he would go on to play college football and track at Texas A&I University (now Texas A&M-Kingsville).
“There was so much freedom to grow and develop at A&I,” Green said.
Green played 19 years in the NFL before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
“People told me the truth and stuck to their word and that played a huge impact on my career. The leadership that is still present today whether it has been successful or not, has had good people with a good head on their shoulders.”
In 1982, Green was selected by his teammates as captain and was named first team All-American, grabbing the Most Valuable Player award in the Lone Star Conference.
During his senior year, Green had 56 tackles, four interceptions and two punt returns for touchdowns.
He was selected to the Lone Star Conference Team of the Decade for the 1980s.
“I got most of my experience playing here at A&I,” Green said. “The Lone Star Conference was very competitive when I played and most guys went on to play in the NFL.”
Green was the last player selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 1983 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins.
The first time he touched the ball, during a pre-season game against the Atlanta Falcons, he returned a punt 61 yards for a touchdown and during his first regular-season game, he made his first big play when he ran down running back Tony Dorsett of the Dallas Cowboys to prevent a touchdown.
Green started all 16 regular season games during his rookie season and finished fourth on the team in tackles with 109 and led the team in solo tackles with 79.
Green was runner-up for the Associated Press NFL Rookie of the Year Award.
“It’s good to be back where it all started and I hope now I can have an impact on others and our students,” Green said.
“All around the country there are issues but I hope we can have that impact through mentoring and I’m sure glad that we can be here today,” he said.
Green said it was good to visit his “old stomping grounds” again.
Green also was on campus to promote Leadership with the THINK Summit, which promotes the importance of self-confidence for youth. More than youth participated.