Green will come home again to Arrowhead
By RANDY COVITZ
The Kansas City Star
Trent Green has gone home before.
After joining the Chiefs as their starting quarterback in 2001, Green made three preseason trips to his former home, St. Louis. Even though Green grew up there, the Lou belonged to Super Bowl hero Kurt Warner and then Marc Bulger.
He’s also revisited Washington, where he spent four seasons and started 14 games in 1998. And he’s played six times at San Diego, the club that selected Green in the eighth round of the 1993 draft.
But none of those homecomings could match the emotion Green will feel at 7 tonight when he dons the aqua and white of his new team, the Miami Dolphins, for a preseason game at Arrowhead Stadium against the Chiefs.
Green, dealt to the Dolphins in June for a conditional fifth-round pick after prolonged trade talks, is downplaying his first game at Arrowhead since the Chiefs clinched a playoff spot with a 35-30 win over Jacksonville last New Year’s Eve.
But he’s not fooling anyone.
“Human nature would say … you would think he’s going to be professional and all that,” said Miami coach Cam Cameron, “and you would think when he steps back into the stadium there would be some natural emotion there.
“You know what kind of person he is, and I think everybody there knows how he feels about that place.”
Green is expected to play the first quarter tonight before giving way to his backups. Afterward he can soak in the Arrowhead atmosphere and reflect on his time in Kansas City.
“I really don’t want to get too caught up in thinking what that’s going to be,” Green told reporters in Miami. “I’m just going to let it happen, and we’ll see. I had a great six years there and enjoyed it. It was a great experience for us as a family.”
During Green’s six seasons with the Chiefs, he directed one of the NFL’s most prolific offenses. He completed 1,720 passes in 2,777 attempts for 21,459 yards and 118 touchdowns — ranking second in club history in all three categories to Pro Football Hall of Famer Len Dawson. His passer rating of 87.3 was the best in franchise history.
And Green started 81 consecutive games, another record by a Chiefs quarterback. However, the streak ended when he suffered a serious concussion in the 2006 season opener against Cincinnati. Green missed eight games and wasn’t the same in seven starts after his return.
After a shaky performance in the dismal 23-8 loss to Indianapolis in the first-round playoff game, the Chiefs decided it was time to move on without Green, 37, and go either with youngster Brodie Croyle or supersub Damon Huard, who went 5-3 in Green’s absence.
Green, believing the competition for the starting job would be weighted in Croyle’s favor, was given permission by the Chiefs to work out a contract with another team, and they would trade him. He selected Miami, where he was reunited with former Chiefs quarterbacks coach Terry Shea and Cameron, his position coach at Washington, who has installed an offense similar to what the Chiefs run.
“I don’t feel disrespected, having been in the league long enough and understanding how it works,” Green said of his being shown the door by the Chiefs. “They decided to go in a different direction. They wanted to get younger. I didn’t agree with the decision, but I understood the decision.
“I just wanted an opportunity to go somewhere and play and felt that I still had some good years left playing, and I wanted that chance. I’m fortunate they were able to get that done.”
Playing behind a rebuilt offensive line that has different starters at all five positions, including two rookies, Green struggled in the Dolphins’ preseason opener. It was a marked contrast to having Pro Bowlers such as Will Shields, Brian Waters and Willie Roaf protecting Green during his 4,000-yard passing seasons of 2003-05.
Green completed just six of 15 passes for 60 yards with one interception, was sacked twice during the first half of the preseason opener against Jacksonville and was booed by the fans at Dolphins Stadium.
His reception at Arrowhead should be better.
“He’ll get a good ovation when he comes home, and he should because he’s done a lot for the city of Kansas City,” Chiefs coach Herm Edwards said. “He’s been a pro in the community and as a player.
“He’ll be fine. It’s always a rough start when you start somewhere new. No matter who you are, for any veteran guy when you change teams, it’s always tough. When you’re the quarterback, it’s a little more glaring.”