Redskins’ Hall of Famer, Darrell Green: “And the greatest of these…is love!”
Â He may have retired from the game but certainly not from making big plays in life. On Friday, February 15th, he celebrated another birthday and continues to be celebrated in more ways than one can imagine!
Darrell Ray Green (born February 15, 1960) is a former American football cornerback in the National Football League who played for the Washington Redskins from 1983 to 2002. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest cornerbacks to ever play football. Green was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008.
Recently, we had an opportunity to catch up with Green to get a snapshot of whatâ€™s happening in his world.
Scripture reminds us that whoever desires to be great, must first master serving others (Matthew 23:11, Mark 10:43). Service has been at the core of Darrellâ€™s life since his youth days growing up in Houston, Texas. Strongly inspired by his parents and work in the community, he carried that natural energy into his life as a professional athlete.
The rookie Green was invited to RFK stadium in Washington, DC to a Christmas community event hosted by another professional athlete who he clung to as mentor and friend. Mr. Owens had a huge impact on what would be a 25-plus year annual event, Christmas With The Redskins (CWTR), hosted by Darrell Green.
At the event @ RFK, Darrell noticed that after the cookies, drinks, games, each child was given a â€œtokenâ€ of some sort. Problem was a 16 year girl would receive a gift designated for a young boy. Green was bothered by that. Growing up poor in Houston, he remembered that even though he received one gift, that gift was personal and something that was â€œhandpickedâ€ especially for him.
Therefore, this was his motivation to host an event the following year where he could collect data (photos, gender, sizes, ages) so that each kid would feel special, valued, and thought of when they received a gift. â€œI experienced something that I thought we could do better where supporters would have the privilege to spend time with the kids, and really make it specialâ€¦where the child was on their mind.â€
Darrellâ€™s humility always shines through as he emphatically makes it known that the annual CWTR event is a community collaborative effort. Together with locally trusted relationships and leaders, auxiliary and community groups, and professional athletes, they repeatedly make it happen for hundreds of underprivileged children throughout the Washington metropolitan area. â€œWe are all in it together supporting one another. The energy and the excitement that the people bring to the idea of givingâ€”itâ€™s the heart of the people, the willingness to take the timeâ€¦â€
The Redskins players and area supporters SHOW UP with one purpose in mind and that is to make a difference. Green says that, â€œthis privilegeâ€ is theirs. Whether the kids are receiving gifts or the players and supporters are bringing the gifts. God is the Source of it all.
Speaking of God, there has never been a secret of Darrellâ€™s deep-seated faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior! â€œMy faith is synonymous with my heartbeat.â€ Surrendering his life to the Lord while in college was the best and most pivotal decision that he has ever madeâ€”beyond football, beyond anyone or anything. â€œMy faith is the driving force of my life. Itâ€™s Christ in me. Itâ€™s the substance of my life. Jesus has saved me, redeemed and delivered me and has helped me to live in every way.â€
Green admits that serving others is not always easy, whether in the context of family, sports, church or community so he solely relies on his faith to keep him grounded so he can perform at his optimal level for the greater good of all who have been entrusted in his careâ€”for to whom much is given, much more is required. â€œWhat could I have done to deserve a life Iâ€™ve been given? Itâ€™s by Godâ€™s grace. Iâ€™m grateful for that Grace.â€ Darrell just doesnâ€™t â€œrunâ€ his mouth about his faith for fanfare. He walks out his faithâ€”itâ€™s a lifestyle not a convenient means to an end. â€œMy faith is living out His Will. You want me to be on this team and not just chase the money? You want me to attend this church? You want me to raise our children here? You want me to reach the world and share the Gospel?â€œ
Itâ€™s an integral part of Greenâ€™s mission to serve, give and support and that mission is linked to the continual leadership, trust, guidance and obedience of the Holy Spirit in his life. â€œFor it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.â€ Philippians 2:13.
As Proverbs 31:23 states Mr. Green â€œis respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the leaders of the land.â€ Darrell loves, protects, and honors his life partner Jewell and family. Today, our communities and society at large need more Green examples to equip the next and now generations. A steadfast beacon of faith, hope and love of one who has not only won on the field but who has won on the larger playing field called life. What’s his winning playbook strategy? â€¦His connection to the Greatest Champion of all times!
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:13)
Roz A. Gee is a contributing writer, author, speaker and business owner. Her brand, new released e-series, @Essentials is now available on www.EssentialsMatter.com or visit www.RozGee.com for your next conference, seminar or retreat.