Darrell Green on Twitter, Skins Fans and Canton
The first time I met Darrell Green, we were on a golf course and he was asking me about blogs. Not in the "what's a blog?" kind of way; he was actually curious why The Post was going down this road, why I'd want to turn it into my career, and what the implications were for sports journalism. There were a lot of questions, and I tried to answer them, but he still seemed skeptical.
"Absolutely I was skeptical, and anybody should be skeptical, and being skeptical doesn't have to have a negative connotation to it," Green said this week. "Who shouldn't be skeptical of a new medium that's right there, in your face, telling it as you go?"
A couple years later, and after much thought about the medium and the future, Green decided he wanted in. And thus, last week, he launched the Darrell Green Twitter feed. And not in a "I'll put a few dry updates out there when I think of it" kind of way. He posted 65 updates in his first three days, which happened to coincide with his first induction weekend in Canton as a returning Hall of Famer. He wrote about everything from the celebrities he met to the speeches he heard to the scourge of NFLers smoking cigarettes to "sitting in the hotel room watching Julia Child beat up a chicken."
"There were so many things to talk about," he said in explaining the flurry of posts. "You're sitting there with all these super guys that you've seen, and you start to be like a kid again. You just start reminiscing and thinking about things, and then you also try to focus on what you've got to do, but there are so many dynamic things taking place right around you, right in front of your face."
Things he figured he might as well share with the few hundred followers who immediately jumped on-board. Green's micro-blogging, of course, was not the highlight of the weekend, which he called "incredibly special" and "pretty darn exciting." He met Bob Hayes's son; Hayes and Green are often described as the two fastest men in NFL history, and Green grew up in Houston watching Hayes. He ate dinner with Harry Carson. He chatted with Daniel Snyder. And he felt himself a part of the Hall of Fame community in a way he couldn't in his induction year.
"If you're a Hall of Famer, you should try to go back every year," he said. "It's just a real special weekend, being with the guys. Somebody said in our private meeting, 'It's like your first year of first grade,' it's almost that humbling. No matter how great a superstar you were, to be with the great heroes of your past and the guys you played with, it's very humbling, very humbling."
Of course, Green also couldn't help but compare the crowd at this year's event to last year's Redskins festival, when burgundy and gold filled Canton for the Green/Monk weekend. He didn't put much about the crowd on Twitter, because he didn't want to denigrate the fans who came to honor this year's class while the weekend was still going on.
"But we blew them out of the water," he said this week with a chuckle. "Our Redskins fans, our attendance, the energy that we had, really it was night and day....It was their day, and I didn't want to put anything out there contrasting that, but yeah, I am a Redskin, and I can say that now. Goodness. Our fans, they just showed up and really blessed us, and it was incredible. What I saw, it was just night and day. It was no contest. That was awesome....Redskins fans, I tip my hat to them, and I'm grateful and thank God that I was a Redskin."
Which sort of gives you the hint that last year's induction ceremony hasn't been forgotten in the Green household. He said he was discussing that very issue with Rich Eisen, coming to the conclusion that those days last August will be "fresh for the rest of your life."
"That thing is of a magnitude where for the rest of your life it'll be fresh," he repeated. "It'll be something that's a conversation or a thought or an impression really on a day-to-day basis. So yeah, I think about it, and freshly appreciate it, shoot, basically every day."
As for Twitter, he wants to do it in an "integral way," but he doesn't want to be boring. "You've got other people doing dirty stuff, and there's an audience for that, too, unfortunately," he said, but he thinks he can be compelling without being dirty. And he wants to do it well and provide good copy even when he's not at an event like Hall of Fame weekend.
"I'm sticking with it, man. I love it," he said. "Obviously I'm very fortunate in that a lot of people want to know you, not that jersey number or the team's logo but to know you, what's real in your life, what's important....They'll get Darrell the man, and they'll get the old No. 28. They'll get the best of both. I think it's pretty exciting."
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