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Green Is Renaissance Man of Sports

September 23, 1994|LARRY STEWART

Tim Green may be the most multifaceted person in sports broadcasting since Pat Haden.

Green, one of Fox's new football commentators--he's working Sunday's Ram-Kansas City Chief game--also was or is:

--An All-American at Syracuse, and conference MVP in 1985.

--An eight-year NFL veteran who played linebacker and defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons. He started 69 consecutive games, a streak stopped by a broken elbow in 1992, and had 100 or more tackles for three consecutive seasons, 1989-91.

--A Football Foundation Hall of Fame scholar.

--NCAA Top-Six scholar.

--Academic All-American.

--Phi Beta Kappa.

--Rhodes Scholar nominee.

--Co-valedictorian of Syracuse's class of 1986.

--Recent Syracuse law school graduate, with honors.

--A once-a-week sports columnist for the Syracuse Herald-Journal.

--A sports commentator for National Public Radio.

--A novelist who has written two books and is working on a third.

--A husband and father of three.

No, we're not making this up. There is such a person.

"One is considered fortunate to be blessed with either brains or brawn; Tim Green has been blessed with both," understates NBC's Bob Costas, another Syracuse graduate.

So what's the deal? Is Green an egomaniac or what?

Hardly. During a 45-minute phone conversation, Green, 30, was pleasant, humble, and easy to talk to.

Still, you'd figure this guy must be really driven.

"I don't think driven is the word," he said. "Someone asked me the other day if I felt I had to be the best at everything.

"I really don't. I want to do everything passionately. Whatever I'm doing I want to feel it, whether I'm playing football, announcing or writing.

"I'm also passionate about things like playing with my kids (Thane, 4; Tessa, 3, and Troy, 5 months), or taking my wife out to dinner. I treat it as if it is a date. I make it a special evening."


Add Green: He said he became interested in football and writing at about the same time, when he was about 8 years old.

"When I wasn't dreaming about someday playing professional football I was dreaming about becoming a famous novelist," he said.

"As a kid (in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool), I was your typical bookworm. Fortunately, I was also big and good in sports. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have been picked on."

It took Green four years to write his first published book, "Ruffians," which was called "chilling and fascinating" by The Times, and "a cross between 'North Dallas Forty' and 'The Firm' " by USA Today.

It took him two years to write his second, the just-released "Titans," the story of a pro football quarterback who gets involved with the mob.

And he is about 70 pages into his third, "Outlaws," which he hopes to finish in a year.

What does he consider himself first, a former football player, a novelist or an announcer?

"It's whatever I'm doing at the moment," he said. "Although what is really No. 1 with me is being a father and a husband. My family is what's most important to me."

Green said the Fox job came about because of his friendship with Ed Goren, the network's executive producer of sports. He said he met Goren through Stu Lisson, the head of the video communications department at Syracuse, about four years ago and Goren called him this spring to offer him a job.

"If things hadn't worked out with Fox, I would have returned to football," Green said.


Complaint department: ABC is giving Southern California and 12% of the country a prospective blowout, Arizona at Stanford, on Saturday, while 48.6% of the nation gets Colorado at Michigan. Washington at Miami is going to 36% of the country.

At least cable subscribers whose companies offer the college football pay-per-view package can get get one or both of those games.

But there is more bad news. ABC last week picked up Alcorn State's game against Sam Houston State as one its regional telecasts, obviously because of Alcorn's Steve (Air) McNair. However, the game was added to the schedule too late to offer it as a pay-per-view option.


Recommended viewing: In one of the more revealing interviews Roy Firestone has done, former Denver Bronco receiver Vance Johnson unloads on "Up Close" on ESPN tonight at 9:30 p.m. Johnson talks about his abusive nature, his efforts to change and his suicide attempt several years ago. He tells Firestone he was starting to slit his wrists when the phone rang. Fortunately, it was his therapist.


Add recommended viewing: "Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World," an outstanding one-hour tribute written by Frank Deford and narrated by Ossie Davis, will be on HBO seven times, beginning Tuesday at 10 p.m. Among those interviewed are South African President Nelson Mandela.

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