Defensive Lineman, Sensitive Writer Tim Green Sat in the Locker Room, Head Down, Writing Dialogue
Dan O'Neill Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
DURING a typical pre-game moment, before a typical major league sports event, one would find the typical professional athlete involved in a game of cards.
A teammate or two might be hunkered down in their cubicle with this month's issue of Playboy. Another would be thoroughly immersed in "Gameboy." Still others would be keeping up with their favorite soap opera.
Someone walking into the Atlanta Falcons pre-game locker room in recent years would find a notable exception. There in a corner would sit rough, tough defensive lineman Tim Green, reading literature, writing dialogue, mulling over plot.
`I'd get some looks," Green said. "But in that football environment, when someone was crazy, you kind of kept your distance and respected that person. They would look at me like I was crazy, but they respected that."
Green could be crude and rude when the mud was slinging and the pads were popping. But off the football field, he was as literate as a librarian.
"My mom was an elementary school teacher and my dad was a systems analyst," said Green, 30, who was raised in upstate New York. "They would take a weekly trip to the library. Instead of coming home with bags of groceries, mom would come home with bags of books."
And unlike the typical pro athlete, who searches for a career when his playing time is up, Green searches for the time to accommodate all of his careers.
Last year, he graduated from Syracuse University Law School. This National Football League season, which culminates with Sunday's Super Bowl, Green teamed with Joe Buck as a color analyst on Fox Broadcasting's coverage.
He also is a commentator for National Public Radio, a sports columnist for the Syracuse (N.Y.) Herald-Journal, a husband and a father to three children.
Oh yeah, and the guy writes novels.
"He's amazing," Buck said. "He talks about learning from me, but the truth is, I'm learning a lot from him. He sees things and explains things that you otherwise don't see.
"With all the things he has accomplished, he's one of the nicest, most intelligent people I've ever met."
Green's children - Thane, Tessa and Troy - are named after Shakespearean characters. The classics, as well as the classroom, always have been influential.
At 6-foot-2, 246 pounds, he was an undersized defensive tackle. Green overachieved to become an All-American at Syracuse and survive eight years in the NFL. When he retired after the 1993 season, it wasn't a question "what" he might do, but which interests he would pursue.
"School always was very important to me," Green said, "as important as football or anything. …