Panther defensive back-field coach Dick Roach has his own sense of Greenwood's value. "I don't think jumping ability is that big a deal," he says. "What a strong safety has to do is play the run like a linebacker, drop deep like a safety and cover man-to-man like a corner. Those are three difficult tasks. The reason you like a guy like Greenwood, who can do those things, is that he doesn't limit what you can do with the rest of your defense. If your strong safety can't cover or can't support, then a linebacker or corner has got to help him, and that's a problem."
The other members of the Panthers secondary are delighted to have Greenwood on their side, though free safety John Arnaud, who was a high jumper at Iowa State (7'2¾"), has one minor complaint. "On our two-deep zone, sometimes I'll jump for a ball down the middle and so will Greenie, and we'll hit in midair," he says. "The guy's so big that it's scary. So now if I see him coming, I have to think about backing off. I can imagine how receivers must feel."
Molly Greenwood, who was born the week the Michigan Panthers opened their 1983 training camp, stands giggling in front of her father, who's seated in the den of the family's Bloomfield Hills duplex. David's wife, Julie, stands beside Molly. Julie, 23, and David, 24, were sweethearts back in Park Falls and got married before Greenwood's senior year at Wisconsin.
"Touchdown, Molly!" yells Julie. And the 14-month-old girl throws both arms in the air.
"Gimme five, Molly" says David, and she pats his outstretched palm.
"High five!" says David, and she raises one hand and slaps skin.
The Greenwoods are a happy football family at a charmed time. The large, sunny condo lacks furniture in a couple of rooms, but nobody seems to mind. Just having all that space is a novelty. Julie was one of four children; David was the eighth of Perry and Laura Greenwood's 11; and roominess wasn't something they grew up with. David, whose father drove a fuel truck for years and now does maintenance work at the Park Falls cemetery, shared three bedrooms and a hallway with his five brothers, while his five sisters slept in one large room. "We always had food on the table, and I always had clothes," David says. "But, yeah, it was sort of crowded."
The liberating effect of space overwhelmed Greenwood one night after a recent Panther home game. "I woke up to these crashes," says Julie, "and I went upstairs, and there were David and his uncle hitting golf balls across the empty living room. Real golf balls."
Everything happened fast for the Greenwoods—from the January 1983 signing ($800,000 for four years) to Molly's birth, to the move to suburban Detroit, to their entrance into a new economic stratum—and they're still sorting things out.
"One day you're poor and in college, and the next day you have $100,000 in your account, and the day after that somebody says you owe $50,000 in taxes," says Julie. "You have to make important decisions fast, and you're always thinking about the future. It's nice, but it's not the glamorous life everybody thinks it is. As David says, we're just average, middle-class people living in the 50 percent tax bracket."