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Virginia redshirt freshman wide receiver Jared Green had an experience unlike any college football player in the country this past weekend. He presented his father, Darrell Green, for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The elder Green played cornerback for 20 seasons with the Washington Redskins and intercepted a team-record 54 passes. One of the fastest players in NFL history, he was named All-Pro four times and selected to play in seven Pro Bowls. Jared was chosen by his father to introduce him during the enshrinement ceremony this past Saturday. Jared talks about the weekend, his speech, his decision to follow in his father’s footsteps and play football, as well as his thoughts on the upcoming season.

Summarize the whole experience of being in Canton?
The experience was like living a dream.

What was the high point for you? Was it the actual induction ceremony?
Yes, it was, but there was an event before the induction where my dad was given his (Hall of Fame) coat. That was one of the biggest highlights; that was an amazing night.

What was the timetable for the decision for you to give the speech?
There was none (laughs). My dad appointed me probably the year before he retired. My dad was always considered a future Hall of Famer while he was playing, especially the last three years of his career.

I would always say, dad, maybe one day you’ll get in the Hall of Fame.’ And he said when I said that, hey, you’ll be the one to send me in.’ In the family, we’ve known this for years, it wasn’t a surprise.

How long did you work on the speech?
We found out at the Super Bowl in Arizona that he was going in. I did the speech the weekend after that. I just kind of wrote it down. What I did was I wrote the base down and as we got closer to the moment I took different little notes from different things that were going on. In the speech I mentioned a conversation that me and my dad had the day before the speech and I put that in there the night before. The speech was really the life of the Hall of Fame and everything about it. The speech was built by just us living.

The conversation you and your dad had the day before, can you touch on the highlights?
I got to meet a lot of Hall of Famers this past week and there were a lot of legends. One thing that they stressed to my dad and to others was the fact the Hall of Fame image is not truly found in the young athletes of today, whether it be college or the NFL, and what the old legends stand for.

They were saying, hey, we’ve got to keep it alive.’ As me and my dad were in the hotel room, I said, hey, dad, who do you think would be in the Hall of Fame from this era? Guys like LaDanian Tomlinson, Peyton Manning and those guys. And we really could only think of maybe two guys, so my dad was saying, yeah, maybe it is really dyingthe legend of a Hall of Fame man and a legend that kids want to be like and parents are willing to say, hey son, be like that guy.’

What’s the biggest thing you’ve gotten from your dad over the years? And how has he influenced you most as a person more than as a football player?
It has to be being a real man. Just because you can score a touchdown or you can intercept the ball, I don’t think that qualifies you as an outstanding role model. My dad, I think personally and not just because I’m his son, I think he’s the greatest role model a kid can have, especially a kid that aspires to be an athlete.

In his speech your dad talked a lot about family connections, especially father-son. Was there any expectation for you to play football and how did he specifically support that part of your decision?
The support came after he let me play. I was begging my dad for 16 years to play football. He never let me play until ninth grade. When he finally let me play, we went full go with itI trained with him. But until then I was a basketball player.

Why didn’t he want you to play?
I guess it’s like a father that’s a policeman and not wanting his son to be a cop after what he sees out on the field. He saw a lot over 20 years20 years is a long careerso he didn’t want his boy to get hurt.

At one point, wasn’t your dad the fastest man in the NFL?
For a long time, yes.

Did you ever race him and at what point did you beat him?
I’ve never really raced my dad, ever. To tell you the truth, we never even really talked football. We trained together these last couple summers, but football never really ever came up in the house.

The question was always asked, are you as fast as your dad?, are you faster?,’ but we never raced.

My dad saw some things this summer in me, and he said, hey, you got me.’ He told me I guess it’s safe to say I’m faster than him now.

You were described coming out of Oakton HS as a promising, but raw player, probably because you hadn’t played that much organized football. How much do you feel like you’ve grown as a football player in the last year and how much did you learn while redshirting last year and during spring practice this year?
The redshirt was the best for me. It gave me time to learn the game, learn the plays and learn about defense and how they change coverages. Also, it gave me time to mature and find myself as a wide receiver and what my strengths and weaknesses are. I feel like I’ve matured tremendously from when I signed the papers to come here.

How motivating was it for you as a football player to go through this last weekend?
If you’re not motivated by what just happened this past weekend then football’s not for you. Being in the same room with such legends as Deacon Jones, John Madden, Gale Sayers, Art Monk, all those legends, you have to want to be something great after shaking those guys’ hands.

After going through that, you looking forward to two-a-days?
Walking off the stage, my dad gave me a hug after I presented him and he said, hey, you know what you’ve gotta do now.’ And that was talking about camp.

I’m happy that camp is around. I couldn’t be more excited than I am right now. Two-a-days aren’t that bad (laughs), especially not for us little guys.

At what point did you pass your dad in size?
I hit a growth spurt in 10th or 11th grade, I jumped up real high. I was a little pip squeak, I was shorter than my little sister. I didn’t have much hope. But one summer I switched shoe sizes about four times.

One day my dad came downstairs and he was yelling at me because I had done something. He got real close to me and he realized he was looking at my chest (laughs).

Chris Long talked a lot about the pressure of growing up as Howie Long’s son. As a football player he heard things from opponents trying to get at him and saying he wasn’t as good as his dad. Was there pressure for you, particularly at Oakton, when you finally started playing? I’m sure everyone knew you first and foremost as Darrell Green’s son.
Yeah, there’s pressure if you feed into it. I can surely say that Chris has overcome it and beat it down pretty bad. That’s what I aim for. The pressure comes but if you have a strong background and you’re a strong person you can overcome it just like Chris did. My thing is, if you look at Art Monk, a quiet guy that speaks with actions, I don’t really have to say anything back to anybody that says anyting to me about being Darrell Green’s son or I’m not going to be as good as my dad. All I need to do is speak through my actions.

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