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Green's anonymity through all of this can easily be explained. First, when Mel Gray, Tilley and St. Louis' top four defensive backs are injury-free, Green doesn't start. He still logs more total playing time than a starter but can not accumulate impressive statistics at any one position. Second, he played his college ball—as a defensive back—in something called the Arkansas Intercollegiate Conference, an NAIA league with such teams as the Ouachita Baptist Tigers and the Arkansas Tech Wonder Boys. He intercepted nine passes as a senior but to little acclaim. Besides being in the considerable athletic shadow of the University of Arkansas, Henderson State, with its enrollment of 2,600, didn't even have a sports publicity department.
Green didn't take part in high school football until the 11th grade, at which point he made up for lost time by playing six positions and even kicking off. "I used to practice with a Dixie Cup as a tee," he says. "A lot of distance, but no accuracy." Actually, Green did try out for his eighth-grade team but quit after a dispute with the coach. "I wanted to be a runner, and he wanted me on the offensive line," says Green. Versatility does have its limits.
After his first NFL season, Green returned home for a crack at baseball, with the semipro Magnolia Riders of the Ark-La-Tex League. By his account, he led the league in batting with an average in the .480 range. More recently, he has spent his off-season time playing basketball. In both sports, Green plays every position. Correction: Football versatility has its limits.
Green lives in a condominium 20 miles from downtown St. Louis with his wife, Sharon, a receptionist at a bank, their 13-month-old daughter, Miyosha, and their dog, Rock. And Ottis/O.J./Juice Anderson. "Juice and I are like brothers," says Green, who nevertheless says he's reluctant to let Anderson babysit for Miyosha.
"What about you?" Sharon asks her husband. "You were afraid to pick her up for the first two or three months."
"I've fumbled a few in my time, you know," he says.
Rock is a Rottweiler. "Like the kind in the Damien-Omen II," says Green. "A devil dog. When we first got it I couldn't figure out what it was. Juice told me it was a Rottweiler. I said, 'Great, a rock wilder. Let's call him Rock.' "
"The thing about Roy," says Bill Atkins, an assistant coach, "is that he works so hard, yet he's so loose and upbeat. I've never seen him grumpy." Green can be serious, though, when talking of his parents getting divorced when he was a child or of Miyosha nearly dying from a digestive problem. He often speaks to youth groups about the importance of education, though Green himself didn't graduate from Henderson State. He's still several credit hours short of a degree in phys ed and English, and he says he probably won't have time to finish until his football career is over. "Which won't be for a while," he adds.
His days on defense could be numbered, however, simply because he has become so valuable to the St. Louis offense. "Being a receiver is a lot more exciting, with a lot less pressure," Green says. "On defense you can give up seven points on any play. Sometimes I look at the guys covering me and even feel a little sympathetic."