WASHINGTON — Darrell Green’s success with the Redskins could not be overstated.
The Hall of Fame corner’s loyalty, seen in the entirety of his 20-year Hall of Fame career in a burgundy and gold uniform, deserves equal recognition.
Green was, in his own words, the “truest Redskin of them all.”
“Dude, I know what a real Redskin is,” he told 106.7 The Fan’s Grant Paulsen and Danny Rouhier on Friday. “I know more than anybody else, because I’ve stood there 20 seasons. I didn’t run for the money.”
It’s a distinction Green clearly holds close to his heart. He resisted temptation to leave, even during the latter part of his career as free agent contracts ballooned, as “hired guns” were brought in by teams seeking that final piece to top off a championship roster.
You can almost divide his career into two phases. The first (1983-1991) was of championship caliber and included three trips to the Super Bowl, two leading to titles. The second (1992-2002), through forces beyond Green’s control, was spent chasing the ghost of past success.
The team’s relentless pursuit morphed into desperation under new owner Daniel Snyder, when Snyder purchased the team in May 1999.
But the seeds of desperation were sewn before Snyder’s arrival.
Late owner Jack Kent Cooke, as he sidestepped local bureaucrats in his race against time to erect a new stadium, reached across the aisle to hire Super Bowl-winning Cowboys offensive coordinator Norv Turner in 1994.
Two and a half decades have passed since Turner was fired. Behind him in Washington, he left a 49-59-1 record and one lone playoff appearance.
Rivalries are fable, fictitious imagery conjured up to fuel fan obsession — right?
“Here’s my problem with all you Redskin fans,” Green said. “When Norv Turner came here from Dallas, I was the lone wolf of the old guys, and he brought about five has-been Cowboys. I didn’t hear any of y’all in the media, true Redskins fans, say anything. I didn’t hear a thing.
“The Cowboys. We brought their coach and a bunch of their players and we were jacked up. But nobody said a word. And I’m sitting there on the team, about 38 years old or whatever, just staying quiet, working hard.”
Along with Turner, Green took aim at former teammate Deion Sanders, a hired mercenary who signed a seven-year, $56 million contract to play one forgettable season for the Redskins in 2000.
“I am the truest Redskin of them all,” he continued. “I care about the team, and winning, and I still have that old pride when you want to bring in. …When they brought Deion Sanders in, you know what they asked Deion? They said, ‘Deion, are you a Redskin or are you a hired gun?’ Go look it up.
“He said, ‘I’m a hired gun.’ Nobody said a word! So don’t get me started.”
Upon departing Dallas, Sanders told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, “I wanted some more wins. I wanted more Super Bowls. But it was good. I understood I was a hired gun. I’ve still got some bullets. It’s not my fault the gun doesn’t shoot like it used to.”
Green still resents Marty Schottenheimer, who Green says, without being specific, “made some catastrophic mistakes” during his one season coaching the Redskins in 2001.
“I’ve got some stuff down on the inside of me that I remember, that people, if you say you’re really a ‘Skin, we need to start paying attention to things,” Green said. “When your coach comes from the Cowboys and brings about five has-beens that was no benefit to us. When I say they were older players, you know, they were successful in their time. James Washington and all these guys. But I’ve been here. I’ve been here.”
“But hey, if you want to know a Redskin, this is one,” he said. “I only suited up in the Redskins for 20 years, more than anybody else. And I saw some stuff. So Marty Schottenheimer was NOT A REDSKIN.”