Looking for a Fantasy running back on a roll? Well, look no further than Ahman Green, who is coming off his fourth-straight 1,000-yard season and showing no signs of slowing down.
The former Nebraska standout possesses lethal mix of superior speed and punishing power, a combination not readily apparent to opponents.
As his official Packers biography puts it: "Results of open-field meetings often end in one of two ways: No. 30 either blowing by or running over would-be tacklers."
A significant contributor in the passing game, Green has proven to be a superior receiver and an excellent pass blocker -- the perfect backfield accompaniment to All-Pro quarterback Brett Favre and the Packers' aerial attack.
Green has pulled in at least 50 passes in each of the four seasons.
By the way, he also happens to be an interesting individual. Part of game preparation ritual involves watching "Pure Payton," a highlight film of the late Hall of Fame running back, whom he idolized as a young football player.
An enthusiastic fan of Batman, Green owns an extensive collection of comic books, pictures and posters.
In fact, in 2002, Green presented contributing teammates (offensive line, fullback, tight ends, wide receivers) with rings commemorating back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. Designed by Green, the rings have a "Batman" emblem on top, with each player's name and number on one crest and the phrase, "Tough times go away, not tough people," on the other.
Green comes off an especially impressive 2003 campaign in which he met, set and surpassed a number of milestones.
His 1,883-yard season shattered the team's previous single-season rushing record of 1,474 yards held by Jim Taylor. That rushing total tied for seventh in NFL history and was the highest figure ever by a player who did not win the league rushing title. Baltimore's Jamal Lewis won this year's crown with 2,066 yards.
Green scored 20 touchdowns, also a team record. Taylor held the old mark with 19 and Green's 120 points were the most by a Packers positional player since Paul Hornung had 146 in 1961.
Green started the year as the Packers' seventh all-time leading rusher, but jumped to second by the end of the season with 5,685 yards. Taylor leads with 8,207 yards.
Green broke the Packers' single-game rushing record against Philadelphia on Nov. 10 with 192 yards, then shattered that with a 218-yard outing against Denver Dec. 28. He holds four of the top six rushing games in team history.
Green averaged 5.30 yards per carry and now holds the franchise's best career average at 4.71. Gerry Ellis is second at 4.58.
Green set a team record with four consecutive 100-yard rushing games and his 10 100-yard games in a season shattered the old mark of seven that Green had shared with Taylor.
Green set a franchise record with 2,250 yards from scrimmage, breaking his old mark of 1,981 set in 2001.
So. ... What's next?
Well, that was one of the many questions we were able to pose on May 17, when Green was gracious enough to call in and spend some time discussing Fantasy football and a handful of other interesting topics.
Pro Forcast: What is your overall perception of Fantasy football?
Ahman Green: It has its own heartbeat, like PlayStation 2 and X-Box. You know, like a community of people who know the verbiage, who know what goes on and know the ins and outs of it -- and if you don't know you're just kind of out in limbo.
I mean, I don't know what goes on and how the scoring is. I know every league has different ways of scoring for them to win a game.
Pro Forcast: How often are you approached with Fantasy-related questions?
Ahman Green: In an average week, probably I would say 2-3 times a week.
Pro Forcast: How do you typically respond? What would you say to someone if they said, "Ahman, you won me a fantasy game?"
Ahman Green: I would say, "You're welcome" and hopefully I could keep playing well and continue to help you out.
Pro Forcast: What do you think of the NFL's recent efforts to promote Fantasy football?
Ahman Green: I think that's good. It's another thing people can pick up as a hobby because from what I hear about it, it's fun. It can be a little competitive because you basically have to be a good general manager and a coach.
You need to know who to put in and out of the game at a certain time of the season, who's hot and who's not.
Pro Forcast: I think you have a better idea of this than you're letting on.
Ahman Green: Yeah. I mean I have experienced it in the last year or two
Pro Forcast: Needless to say, you're fairly popular.
Ahman Green: Yeah. That's what I've heard.
Pro Forcast: All right, we'll move on here. ... Do you follow your own individual statistics during the season?
Ahman Green: No, not at all. I've been like that since high school. I do not follow my stats. The only time I hear about my stats is through my teammates, coaches, family and friends.
Pro Forcast: Do you follow other players and positions?
Ahman Green: Yeah. I'll see what another running back is doing or another player that I might know from around the field or that I played college ball with to see how they're doing offensively or defensively.
Pro Forcast: Do you follow NFL news during the season? During the offseason?
Ahman Green: Yeah. I kind of take a break from SportsCenter probably right after the season, but now I'm kind of checking it out, at least once an evening or maybe in the morning when they rerun it every morning until twelve, I might catch it.
I'm kind of picking it up again, watching it, seeing what's going on in, you know, baseball and the NBA Playoffs and stuff right now.
Pro Forcast: Who is your favorite NFL analyst on the television?
Ahman Green: I have a couple, John Madden, Keith Jackson from college football.
Chris Berman when he does get a chance to do a game. Those guys are really on the top of my list. Some of the new guys that have been at it the past few years, Troy Aikman, a lot of the ex-players are pretty good.
You know, those guys are learning. They played the game, but learning commentating is something new.
Pro Forcast: Overall, how accurately do you believe the media portrays you?
Ahman Green: I'm not one to read the paper or watch a whole lot of local news. You know, I watch ESPN just to get a little bit of everything, you know, football, baseball, basketball, tennis, hockey, whatever; but I don't really watch the locals or read the local paper or stuff like that because a lot of you believe half of what you read.
Sometimes I think the media is unfair to pro athletes because they focus on the negative stuff and not the positive.
That's mainly the reason I don't read it. They're not really focusing on the other part of the person, just what that one mistake he or she made in their life and they focus on it and blow it out of proportion.
Pro Forcast: Ain't that a fact. ... All right. Now that we know you have the basic premise down, let's get back to the Fantasy stuff. ... Realizing it would be hard not to pick yourself first, we're granting you the first two picks in a mock Fantasy draft; who do you take at No. 2 and why?
Ahman Green: My second pick in a fantasy league? Offensively, I'd have to say probably Michael Vick or Randy Moss. ... If it was a defensive player, I would say Ray Lewis or maybe [Brian] Urlacher.
Pro Forcast: What offensive teammate is going exceed expectations this season? Anyone really putting in some extra effort this offseason?
Ahman Green: Right now, I'd have to say maybe Donald Driver.
Pro Forcast: Donald Driver is ready to bounce back, eh?
Ahman Green: He might bounce back and have a pretty good season. Maybe Javon Walker.
One of our receivers, we have a whole fleet of receivers that are really young and hungry -- hungry to play well and get us back to the playoffs and to a big game.
Pro Forcast: While we're on the topic of teammates. ... What's it like playing with Brett Favre?
Ahman Green: It's great. I'm very fortunate, very blessed playing with a guy like that because he comes out to play his best, so that makes me and everybody else around him play our best.
We know that no matter what, he's going to come out and play hard and we got to do the same basically and so that's why we've been able to do the things we've done in the past 3-4 years, you know, make it to the playoffs and stuff like that.
Pro Forcast: Let's see, you're coming off a very solid season in terms of rushing yards, yards from scrimmage, carries, 100-yard games and touchdowns. ... What's next? What can you do to top that? What kind of goals do you have for the upcoming season?
Ahman Green: Just continue to play hard. My main goal especially for this season offensively, in terms of my club, was to get over 1,500 and I did that, so I'll probably just keep it the same. For a long time I had 1,000 yards as my goal.
This past season I raised it up just a little bit to see if I could get there and we did it offensively, so I might just keep it there again.
Keep it simple, you know, just keep it simple because I know I can reach these goals just by working hard and staying healthy.
Pro Forcast: When setting goals, what factors weigh most heavily in your calculations? Is it how the team has been playing or strength of schedule; does any of that figure in?
Ahman Green: Nah. None of that figures in. It's just how to prepare my body for the regular season and offseason and if we can just stay healthy as a team, you know because that depends on a lot of stuff.
The main thing is just being healthy as a team. If I can be healthy, Brett, the offensive linemen, the receivers. …
We know we're going to get nicked up, but nothing major that a guy is out three or four games.
If you miss three or four games in a year, not back-to-back, but nagging stuff that makes it hard for everybody get on the same page in terms of just being in the flow of things (it can have an impact).
Pro Forcast: That brings me to something I read in Pro Football Weekly in January: "Mike Sherman and strength-and-conditioning coach Barry Rubin devised a plan that focused less on peak conditioning in September and more on flexibility, strength and stamina in December and January. The coaching staff can point to Ahman Green as proof the plan paid off. Green said he feels as though he has fresh legs even after 405 touches in the regular season. He wore down, bothered by a leg injury and a concussion, in 2002, when he had 353 touches."
Tell me a little bit about that program; are you going to continue with it this year? Is that the same plan?
Ahman Green: Yeah, yeah. ... That's the plan. I stay up in Green Bay, which is kind of becoming the norm now. A lot of guys are staying here year-round; to work out year-round and to work out with the strength coach; staying flexible, staying in shape and making sure that -- basically like you did in college -- you're at one place year-round where you get used to everything.
Your body gets used to the area from where you're working out at, and you only get better from that when you're hitting it hard everyday.
Pro Forcast: Is that a little bit different from what you've done in the past?
Ahman Green: For myself, no. I usually stick with what I've done in college; staying in the state or staying in the city (he's playing in). I feel that's better than going out and working with a personal trainer and trying to get a step above or doing a lot of traveling in between to where you're not really settled in a spot and you're going back and forth, here and there. Just getting in one area and staying there and working out is better on the body.
You recover a lot better like that.
Pro Forcast: You were one of five Packers not penalized last year, is that right?
Ahman Green: I don't know.
Pro Forcast: Yes. You, Javon Walker, Na'il Diggs, Aaron Kampman and Grady Jackson made it though the entire season without a penalty. Is that something you pride yourself on -- that concentration?
Ahman Green: Well the concentration yeah, but I never prided myself on not getting a penalty. But I didn't know it overall, just trying to make sure I'm focused every play that I'm out there on the football field.
Pro Forcast: After fumbling seven times in the first nine games, you went the final nine games, including the playoffs, without putting the ball on the ground. What changed?
Ahman Green: I just focused. You know, just concentrating and focusing on my game play and that's about it, working hard at that.
Pro Forcast: Tell me how (former running backs coach) Sylvester Croom's departure might affect your game?
Ahman Green: Right now, I don't know. You know, it's just something that I know is part of the business, coaches move on, and they find something that might work for them, so I have to adjust to it and right now it's just part of the game.
Pro Forcast: What was the initial impression of (Croom's replacement) Johnny Roland. Pretty good background for him, huh?
Ahman Green: Oh, great background. I mean, he's a great coach, kind of letting us do our own thing. We have a bunch of veteran guys, myself, William [Henderson], Najeh [Davenport], Tony Fisher.
With those guys coming in he doesn't really have to tell us much to get us going. We know the offense and we know how to get ourselves motivated for a game.
He basically lets us do our own thing, but still coaches from a distance.
Pro Forcast: I'm looking at a list of the guys he's coached, Wilbur Montgomery, Walter Payton, Neil Anderson, Jerome Betts, Emmett Smith; it's a pretty good list.
Ahman Green: Oh yeah.
Pro Forcast: How big of a role does your position coach play in your weekly preparations during the season?
Ahman Green: A big role because he teaches me the intricate, the small little pieces, tidbits that I need to know. Things to look out for from this defense; things to look out for from that defense; what coverages they play in a certain situation. You know, stuff that I think about, but I might not highlight.
So I'll know on third and long their defense does this, or the D-lineman might show this when they're stunting, little things like that.
Pro Forcast: What player do you least like to see staring at you from across the line of scrimmage?
Ahman Green: Nobody. Nobody that I'm not afraid of. If I was afraid of somebody, it would be a problem.
Pro Forcast: I understand. Is there a single player you most look forward to going up against one-on-one, see him coming around the corner?
Ahman Green: Urlacher. He brings the best out of me and I bring the best out of him.
Pro Forcast: In terms of defenders, who talks the most trash?
Ahman Green: I would have to say at one point, Warren Sapp.
Pro Forcast: The weakest trash?
Ahman Green: This is not my opinion, but in Brett's opinion, Chris Hovan, but Chris is a good kid.
Pro Forcast: Okay, fair enough. Who is the most underrated running back in the NFL?
Ahman Green: LaDainian Tomlinson
Pro Forcast: Is there an NFL defender you'd most like to blindside?
Ahman Green: I would say anybody that I have to block. I have to block them and legally if they're in my range, I'm going to take them out.
Pro Forcast: What opposing defense best disguises its coverages.
Ahman Green: At one point Tampa, St. Louis.
Pro Forcast: Maybe now that Lovie Smith is running things in Chicago, the Bears will be on that list now, too?
Ahman Green: The Bears, yeah.
Pro Forcast: If you were running a team what would your offensive philosophy be?
Ahman Green: My offensive philosophy would be to be aggressive. I'd be very aggressive.
Pro Forcast: Generally speaking, what percent of an NFL team's success is due to talent and what percent can be attributed to the coaching and the system?
Ahman Green: In my opinion, 50-50.
Pro Forcast: Your team has either drafted or signed a high profile newcomer at your position, is there any such thing as friendly competition?
Ahman Green: Yeah. I've been involved with it my whole life playing football. Everywhere I've been, little league, high school, college. ... I've always played with guys that on the field we're competitive; off the field we're friends, we're best of friends.
So, yeah, I believe in that.
That's how a person gets better.
Pro Forcast: On a scale from 1-10 with 1 being not at all and 10 being critically, how important is team chemistry to your individual success during the season?
Ahman Green: 10.
Pro Forcast: Who is your favorite NFL official?
Ahman Green: Official? I don't know him; Brett knows him. He knows him by name. I haven't been around that long yet, but I know he messes with [Ed] Hochuli a lot. Hochuli is probably the most in shape of them all.
Pro Forcast: He's a buff dude, huh?
Ahman Green: (Laughing) He's a buff dude; like he's getting so big he can't move his arms to point first downs. Hochuli is a real good guy. That's only because I know his name. I met him a couple of times, but there are other guys that I've seen around the league, actually a couple of guys from my hometown that ref around the NFL from Omaha.
I don't know them all by name, but I know them by face.
Pro Forcast: Who is the uniform police at Lambeau?
Ahman Green: Who is it? I forgot. I know his face. I can't remember his name.
Pro Forcast: You don't really have any problems with that, do you?
Ahman Green: No. Nothing with my jersey, mostly with my socks.
Pro Forcast: That's what everyone says. Nobody likes the sock rule. …Let's see. What head coach -- other than your current head coach -- would you like to play for if you could?
Ahman Green: Bill Parcells.
Pro Forcast: Do you have any hard feelings toward Mike Holmgren?
Ahman Green: No.
Pro Forcast: Is there another offensive coordinator you consider more innovative than the rest?
Ahman Green: They're all pretty imaginative, you know. Mike Martz was the coordinator for at St. Louis, and you know [Dick] Vermeil is very innovative even though he's not a coordinator; he does dynamic things with his offense.
He's been fortunate with the past two teams to have the athletes that he's had to do these things. You know St. Louis he had Marshall [Faulk] and that crew, now in Kansas City he has Priest [Holmes] and Tony Gonzales.
Pro Forcast: How would you do in that offense?
Ahman Green: I know I'd be able to be productive. I don't know what I would do, if I'd be a great rusher or a great receiver, but I'd do something.
Pro Forcast: I bet you would. ... What one word best describes your blocking ability?
Ahman Green: Dependable.
Pro Forcast: Fact or fiction? Ahman Green ran a sub 4.2 forty in a workout in Nebraska?
Ahman Green: Fact.
Pro Forcast: Are we talking a 4.17?
Ahman Green: Yeah.
Pro Forcast: If you could be commissioner of the NFL for one day what's the first thing you'd change?
Ahman Green: The first thing I would change? The sock rule. The sock rule being either that you can wear them or you don't have to.