Nearly a decade ago, Victor Green was Shaun Ellis. He played nine seasons with the Jets, breaking in as an undrafted free agent and becoming one of the best safeties in team history. But, in 2002, the Jets wanted to go in a different direction and Green signed with the Patriots.
"There ain't no John Elways and Dan Marinos anymore," Green told me Sunday by phone, referring to two legends who spent their entire career with one team.
Green said the biggest concern about jumping to the arch rival was wondering how the Jets fans would react to him when he returned to the Meadowlands. That day was Sept. 15, 2002, and it became perhaps the most memorable game of his career. He received a warm welcome, but that was only part of it.
In the midst of the Patriots' 44-7 rout, Green intercepted a pass and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown -- the ultimate payback. The next day, the Boston Globe featured a big color photo of Green, racing past the Jets' sideline with the ball, looks of disbelief (maybe horror) on the faces of the Jets' coaches. Redemption doesn't get sweeter than that.
"It was a Master Card commercial," Green said. "Priceless."
In case you're wondering, Ellis will have to wait until Nov. 13 for a potential Master Card moment. That's when the Patriots visit the New Meadowlands Stadium.
P.S.: If you'd like to keep up with Green, check out his web site, ClassActSports.com.