SEPTEMBER 1, 1980
Twenty-two years ago Hugh Green, a three-time All-America defensive end at Pittsburgh, arrived in Tampa as the first-round draft pick of the Buccaneers, marking the start of his 11-year NFL career. Now the two-time Pro Bowl player is back in Tampa, hoping to start a second pro football career. He is one of 18 members of the inaugural class of the NFL Coaching Internship Program. Among Green's classmates are former players Barry Foster, Amp Lee and Pete Metzelaars, plus active pros such as Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Maslowski and Chicago Bears special teams player Larry Whigam. This month they are all working in NFL Europe training camps throughout Florida.
Converted to linebacker by the Bucs, Green played 4? seasons with Tampa Bay and 6? seasons with the Miami Dolphins. He was released by Miami after the 1991 season and retired to his farm in Fayette, Miss. Then, in 2000, he was asked to be the defensive coordinator for the Miami Tropics of the ill-fated Spring Football League, which dissolved two weeks into a planned six-week inaugural season. However, in that short time Green caught the coaching bug and soon asked his wife, Guy, and his four children how they would feel about his returning to football. He started to school himself in the profession by visiting with the staffs at Grambling, where his former Bucs teammate Doug Williams is coach, and Mississippi State, where Green's coach at Pitt, Jackie Sherrill, is in charge.
Green's goal, though, is to coach in the pros, because, he says, he doesn't have the temperament for college recruiting. "I'm not going to spend time with a kid, and then on the last day he tells me, 'I'm going somewhere else,' " says Green, who finished second in the 1980 Heisman Trophy balloting. "I'd be out on his lawn, waiting for him."
As for whether he feels as if minorities are getting a fair shot at coaching positions, Green says, "Right now, that's a loaded question. I know what all the intentions are, and everything looks good. This business is all networking. You can run into someone and get a job in a day, or get a job in 20 years. Until I have that job, I can't give a direct answer, because I really don't know."
At least in the short run, Green, 43, will have more opportunities to network and develop his coaching skills than he first expected. He arrived in Tampa planning only to work the Barcelona Dragons' training camp, but after a defensive assistant left, Green got the job. For Green, who grew up in Natchez, Miss., before settling in nearby Fayette, the 10-game season will be his first extended stay in Europe. (He played in one NFL preseason game in London.) But don't count on him seeing many of the sights. "I'm going over there to work," says Green, who when he returns will intern at an NFL training camp under the league's Minority Coaching Fellowship Programs. "I'm not going over there to be a tourist."