Ahman Green is the No. 2 all-time leading rusher at Nebraska and the No. 1 all-time at Green Bay.
Photo by Kelly Mosier

Green Sees Lincoln, Green Bay as Mirrors

By NU Athletic Communications

Randy York’s N-Sider

Kudos to Ahman Green for relishing strong opinions every bit as much as he loved hard hits because that side of his personality earned Nebraska’s No. 2 career rusher a Sunday morning gig as a Green Bay Packer commentator on the CBS television affiliate.

Since retiring from football 13 months ago, Green also has become an analyst on a popular Green Bay Monday night radio talk show called “The Locker Room”. Clearly, Green looks at life from both sides now and counts his blessings every day that he lives in what he calls one of the two greatest football cities in America ... Green Bay, Wisconsin, his home base since retiring from the Packers’ as the franchise’s all-time leading rusher.

Lincoln, of course, is Green’s other choice as one of the two greatest football cities in America, and he’s visiting the Capital City this weekend for his formal induction into the Nebraska Chapter of the College Football Foundation’s Hall of Fame.

His homecoming will include 35 members of his family from Colorado to Florida and all points in between, plus a few close friends welcoming him back to a city that loved him so much that it gave him his own chant. “Ahman .. Green” sounded a lot like Husker Power. The words were different, but football’s force is the same.

Lincoln: Corn, Cattle and the Huskers

Lincoln’s gravitational pull is corn, cattle and the Huskers, while Green Bay’s staples are cheese, beer and the Packers. The punch line for both comparably sized cities is their undying loyalty, history, excellence and support for football franchises that defy logic and transcend time.

Green has his own way to measure the synergies. “In my opinion, the only difference between Lincoln and Green Bay is Husker fans wear Scarlet and Cream and Packer fans wear Green and Gold,” he said. “One’s a college town and the other an NFL town. They’re a lot more alike than they are different. Both programs travel well, and they support well at home. They’re there in rain, sleet, snow and any other weather that comes their way.” 

Earlier this month was a tough weekend for Green, who watched his beloved Huskers lose a 36-30 game to UCLA at the Rose Bowl and less than 24 hours later, watched his equally beloved Packers lose a 30-22 decision to the San Francisco 49ers in Green Bay.

Resilience is the only thing that can trump that kind of back-to-back disappointment. “Both teams had tough losses, but the thing that separates both programs from others is their fans,” Green said. “They’re both fiercely loyal fan bases. They don’t give up on their teams when they lose.”

Husker, Packer Fans are ‘Everywhere’

“Don’t get me wrong,” Green added. “Fans of both teams will give their opinions on what didn’t happen and what should have happened, but no matter what, they still support the team. The fan base is so big and so wide for both programs. They’re in California. They’re in Florida. They’re in Hawaii, and they’re in every other possible state. They’re in Germany. They’re in Russia. They’re even in Venezuela.

“Did you see how many Nebraska fans showed up at the Rose Bowl for the UCLA game?” Green asked. “I mean, Nebraska fans and Green Bay fans are everywhere. They love you, they appreciate you and they support you when you win, and they love you, appreciate you and support you when you lose.”

The thing Green likes most about the Huskers and Packers is the support accorded to players who come into each program. “You can be a junior college transfer or whatever,” Green said. “Once you’ve touched the program, you’re in. It’s the same way with Green Bay. If you come in here as a free agent, you’re part of the franchis and part of the family.”

Once a Husker, Always a Husker

It’s hard to believe how both fan bases see themselves as part of something bigger than the team itself. “Both fan bases are so into the game,” Green said. “They know the game. They know the athletes who come through the program. Plus, they know all the history of each organization. There are very few organizations anywhere that has the kind of love, support and belief that these two teams have.

“Fans like ours make it easy to play at home and on the road,” Green said. “I remember being a Husker and being interviewed my freshman year in Lawrence. It was a night game at Kansas, and we must have had 70 percent of the fans. That stadium wasn’t red and blue. It was red and white, and I guarantee that kind of support makes it a lot easier for our coaches and players to win on the road. “

The most dramatic examples of Nebraska fans aren’t the 35,000 that traveled to Hawaii or the more than 50,000 that went to the Rose Bowl, but the ones that actually paid the big bucks and outdrew the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium.

“On the college level, not many fan bases travel like Nebraska,” Green said. “That’s part of why Green Bay reminds me so much of Lincoln. They’re my two favorite places to live. They’re great smaller cities, and they both continue to grow. The stadiums keep getting larger, and the cities keep getting bigger.

Green: Best Teams Spurred Renaissance

“My teammates and I are proud of what we were able to accomplish at Nebraska. There’s a lot going on in Lincoln, and we feel like we had something to do with all the building that’s happening there. We had a coach who had a vision of what Lincoln is and can be. We’re eager to see Coach (Tom) Osborne again at this Hall-of-Fame banquet because we all know how much hard work went into everything we ever accomplished.”

Green saw his hard work “pay immediate dividends my freshman year,” he said. “Basically, my responsibilities quadrupled. I started out the year on fourth team and up starting because Lawrence Phillips had an off-field issue, Damon Benning pulled a hamstring and Clinton Childs messed up his knee. Suddenly, I was the No. 1 I-back my first year in Lincoln. I was well prepared for the challenge. I knew I could handle the pressure in every way, shape and form. When it came down to me and my turn, I was ready.”

Actually, Green said he’d been waiting for such a chance since he pulled on his first helmet as a kid. “I watched Nebraska since I was little and knew how you had to fight and do it right,” Green said. “Football is a brutal sport so you have to hit hard every time, even when you’re getting hit yourself.”

Hard-Hitting Back Respected the Rules

“I was willing to do everything it takes to win within the rules and play within the integrity of the game,” Green said. “I would hit people very hard, but I was never a cheap-shot artist, and people knew that. I played hard right up to the whistle but never after it. That’s why I gained respect. Players knew I was going to hit them hard hit because I went all out every play. But I never cheated and never did anything that I would regret later. The only time I ever stopped on a football field was when the rules demanded that I stop.”

This weekend is no exception. Ahman Green likes green lights more than red ones, so he keeps moving full speed ahead. After Friday night’s induction, Green will leave one of his two favorite cities before Saturday’s kickoff against Idaho State. “I have to work,” he said. “I have a pregame show to do early Sunday morning in Green Bay. I may not be in Lincoln watching the game, but I’ll be like every other Nebraska fan I know. I’ll still keep up with everything that happens in that game.”

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(58-19 Record)

Steve Manstedt

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Ahman Green



Josh Heskew



DeJuan Groce


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