When Ahman Green signed a four-year, $23 million deal with the Houston Texans in 2007, much was expected from the veteran running back, even based on his injury history.
Green was reunited with his former head coach with the Green Bay Packers, Mike Sherman, who became the Texans offensive coordinator that season.
Green, who turned 30 early that year, had missed 16 games due to injury the previous two seasons, so it was surprising that the Texans would sign him to such a lucrative contract considering his injury history and age. And running backs tend to be on the decline in their late 20’s.
Green, who was recently released by the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes, wound up missing 10 games during the 2007 and was asked to restructure his contract for the next season. He earned $8 million in the first season, but had his base salary cut from $3.8 million to $1.8 million for the next season.
According to Green, Texans general manager Rick Smith actually asked him if he was faking injury during his first season with the team.
“Rick Smith called me into his office, and he didn’t know how to start the conversation so he just went right out and said it. He asked me straight up. ‘Ahman are you faking your injury?’ And I kind of took a step back. It was like a wow. This was probably the biggest eye-opening thing I ever experienced in my professional career,” Green told 1560 The Game in Houston earlier this week.
Green said that he was so incensed after Smith asked him that question, he called his agent, Joby Branion, to get him out of Houston.
Assuming Green is telling the truth, no executive should ever question a player’s toughness, or, even worse, if he’s faking injury. That’s a strict no-no in the NFL world. You can push a player to try to practice or to play, but in the end, it’s up to the player to see if he’s able to contribute or not.