He’s bigger than his dad. He catches passes rather than trying to prevent receivers from catching them. But when he runs, Jared Green, formerly of Oakton High, the University of Virginia and Southern U, has what his old man, Darrell, calls “Green speed.”
And that speed – he has run 40 yards in 4.32 seconds — is a major reason why NFL teams might draft the 23-year-old next weekend even though he caught just 52 balls for 670 yards and four touchdowns during his 40 college games.
“Jared’s a big kid and he can run,” an NFL scout said after working out the 6-foot-1, 193-pound Green at Oakton this month. “When you’re getting later in the draft, you’re looking for things that Jared has that you can’t coach: size, speed and he’s a great kid. He learns well and he’s got the bloodlines and he’s been around the game his whole life.”
Indeed, Darrell Green had already played six of his record 20 Hall of Fame seasons at cornerback for the Redskins before Jared was born on April Fool’s Day 1989. However, like his dad, who dropped out of Texas A&I for nearly two years before returning and winding up a first-round pick in the 1983 draft, Jared didn’t have a totally smooth road to this point despite being the son of one of the most popular Redskins ever.
“It’s a privilege being his son,” Jared said. “He was always responsible with the gifts that he was given and the notoriety that he had. I’m going to be responsible with the name I was given. I never wanted to be anything other than who I am.”
The younger Green won a state title as an Oakton junior after transferring from Bishop O’Connell, where he never felt comfortable. But after red-shirting as a freshman and beginning to show what he could do as a sophomore receiver at UVA under Al Groh and the coach’s son/assistant Mike, Jared suffered when that staff knew it was out the door midway through the 2009 season and even more so under new coach Mike London in 2010.
“His agenda was to play receivers from the Tidewater area because that’s where he recruits,” Jared explained. “I went home that summer and told my parents I wanted to transfer. My mom (Jewell) said, ‘No. You’ve got two more semesters. Graduate from UVA.’ I said, ‘OK. Who knows? This coach might be an awesome guy.’ He wasn’t. Coaches can manipulate your mind and tell lies. They can hide behind the program and make a kid look like an outcast. I’m so thankful I learned that at UVA. I’m on a path and I had to experience some adversity. I think that was God’s way of humbling me and keeping me hungry.”
With his anthropology degree completed, Jared opted to play his last college season at Southern, under former Redskins running backs coach Stump Mitchell. Coincidentally, Shawn Burks, who had briefly played with Jared’s dad in Washington, lives in Baton Rouge and looked out for him.
When it came time to work out for NFL teams, his father’s longtime teammate, Brian Mitchell, arranged for Jared to be part of the bigger pro day at his Alma Mater, Louisiana-Lafayette. And during the last few months, Jared has been living and training near Annapolis with ex-Redskins linebacker LaVar Arrington while also doing speed workouts with his still-trim, 52-year-old father, once one of the world’s fastest men, as well as some extra training in Virginia with yet another ex-Redskin, Cliff Russell.
“It seems like, through my whole life, God has orchestrated a big circle of men from the Redskins to take care of me,” Jared marveled.
None more so, of course, than his dad.
“Jared’s a role model,” Darrell said of his only son, who presented him for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. “He’s a leader. He’s a moral kid, a sharp kid. If Jared was all about the pros, he would’ve left UVA a year earlier. But he can play. He’s got Green speed. He doesn’t have Green hands. He has great hands. He loves the game. I didn’t let him play until the ninth grade. My mama didn’t let me play until the 11th grade. I came to the NFL fresh and hungry. Jared’s fresh and hungry.”
The younger Green has personally heard from 10 teams, though curiously not the Redskins. Drafted this weekend or signed as a rookie free agent, he’s eager to show that he’s more than his limited college production would indicate.
“I’ve got a mentality and a work ethic that exceeds anything that I could have imagined when I was younger,” said Jared, who’s engaged to Joanna Hassell, whom he met at UVA. “I’ve been working my butt off for six months. All I do is eat, sleep and train. I didn’t just wake up and say, ‘I’m Darrell Green’s son. I bet I can run fast.’ Or I can catch well because Art Monk is my ‘uncle.’ If I’m a scout, I say, ‘This kid can run. He can catch. And he’s a big playmaker than can excite our offense when we need it the most.’ I possess three things that you can’t coach: speed; mental toughness; and the bloodline that you can’t deny. My mental toughness comes from the environment of having all eyes on you, of proving people wrong, of being Darrell Green’s son and what are you going to do about it?”
Jared has been answering that question all his life. Now he just needs a team to give him the chance to do it in the NFL.
David Elfin began covering sports when he was a junior at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School. He is Washington’s representative on the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee and the author of seven books, most recently, “Washington Redskins: The Complete Illustrated History.” A pre-game regular on 106.7-The Fan the last two Redskins seasons, he has been its columnist since last March.