Friday, October 3, 2003
Holmgren's trade explanation upsets Green
GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Earlier in the week, running back Ahman
Green said he couldn't find any extra motivation to face his former
team, the Seattle Seahawks, and Mike Holmgren, the man who traded
But that was before he heard Holmgren's explanation for trading
him to the Green Bay Packers in 2000 for cornerback Fred Vinson.
Green was a short-yardage back and kick returner in Seattle but had
fallen into Holmgren's doghouse for fumbling in the preseason.
The trade turned out to be one-sided because Vinson twice tore
the same ligament in his knee and never played a down for the
Seahawks while Green became one of the NFL's top running backs.
With Sunday's upcoming showdown between Seattle (3-0) and Green
Bay (2-2) at Lambeau Field, Holmgren was asked about the trade and
he cited the same reasons he has for years: that Ricky Watters
already was his featured running back and he desperately needed a
Then he brought up another factor that he hadn't ever mentioned
publicly: Green's asthma.
"I don't know if he would admit this, but he was having some
asthma problems that I thought were fairly serious," Holmgren
said. "I thought it was tough for him to stay on the field for any
length of time without it really bothering him."
When informed of Holmgren's comments, Green couldn't believe it.
"I've never heard that one," he said. "That's a new one on
me. I'll tell my mom and dad that one. Hey, I've had this my entire
life. Every coach I've ever played for knew about it, from little
league to high school to college. So, if (Holmgren) says he was
worried about it, maybe he was. I'm not going to get inside his
head and see what he was thinking. If that was the case, that was
Might Holmgren simply have been trying to cover himself for a
trade that went terribly awry?
"You can say that. I'm not going to say it," Green retorted.
Green said his asthma actually was better in Seattle, where it
isn't as humid in the summer. He occasionally has flare-ups early
in the season when the weather is warm but usually misses only
about one series.
"I have to catch my breath," Green said. "My lungs, it's
exercise-induced. So, ... once I catch my breath, I'm OK. It's
really when it's really humid. That's when it gives me a tough
Green has been to the Pro Bowl each of the last two seasons and
he's the NFL's second-leading rusher so far this season with 442
yards on 78 carries. He's coming off a career-high 176-yard,
two-touchdown performance against the Chicago Bears that earned him
NFC offensive player of the week honors.
Earlier in the week, Green said he wasn't particularly excited
to face his former team.
"I know them, they know me, that's about it," Green said.
And he insisted he wasn't eager to face Holmgren, either.
"For myself, it's nothing special, it's nothing personal,"
Green said. "Out there on the football field, it's all business
and just a football game, just like any other."
Then, Holmgren handed him something to get fired up about.