Getting burned is part of the game, Green says Redskins cornerback prepared for Rams

November 28, 1991|By Vito Stellino | Vito Stellino,Sun Staff Correspondent

HERNDON, Va. -- Darrell Green understands life on the corner.

"I just didn't just get here. I've been here nine years. Hey, all's well," the Washington Redskins cornerback said as he laughed yesterday.

Yes, he was laughing even though all wasn't well Sunday for the NFL's fastest man when Michael Irvin of the Dallas Cowboys caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown against him.

Green, though, suffered no physical or emotional scars from the off day.

"I'll tell you what. I say this in humility, not in pride. I was created to play cornerback. In the midst of getting balls caught on me and losing and all that, I was never faint[hearted]," he said.

Green never hoped the Cowboys would stop throwing at him.

"I can just say, man, I was always saying, 'Keep throwing it.' Either I'mcrazy or I was born to play corner," he said.

Cornerbacks have to be mentally tough away to shake off a beating and come back ticking. Green wouldn't mind taking on Irvin again tomorrow.

"If we played them again, it wouldn't be any problem. I'll tell you what. I wouldn't be sweating," he said.

Green cited the comment that Bobby Beathard, the general manager who drafted him on the first round in 1983, once made about him.

"He said about Darrell Green that if you beat him 10 plays, you've got to beat him the 11th. I think that's the mark of a great corner. If I was a coach, that's what I would look for in a guy. Talent is one thing, but I would look for heart. The heart of a tiger," he said.

Green has that heart, although he also had the grace to salute Irvin for his play. "The guy just did a great job. That's part of athletics. My hat goes off to him," he said.

It was also a day in which nothing went right for Green. Steve Beuerlein threw a pass behind Irvin, and it bounced off Irvin's hands, but he still caught it for a touchdown.

"I didn't make any conclusions until the game was over, but then I made the conclusion that, man, 'You couldn't have bought a play today,' even if I would have just paid them cash," Green said.

Green knows that cornerbacks have that kind of day.

"I've been able to prove in my own mind that I definitely am a cornerback. I definitely belong," he said.

Green said his worst play was the "Hail Mary" pass at the end of the first half when Alvin Harper out-jumped a half a dozen Redskins for a touchdown catch.

"That was embarrassing. I was behind everybody, but I should have made a stronger jump," Green said.

Coach Jimmy Johnson of the Cowboys said after the game that opposing teams have to challenge Green or throw into double coverage. The strategy was unusual, because most teams stay away from Green, even though he covers the opposing team's top receiver one-on-one, but it worked for the Cowboys.

Green won't mind it if other teams try the same strategy.

"If that happens, they're either going to run me out of the league or I'm going to run them out of the league," he said.

Green will face Henry Ellard of the slumping Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, but coach John Robinson didn't act as if he plans to tear a page from Johnson's book and challenge Green too often.

"I don't know you want to try and make a living doing that week in and week out," Robinson said.

Robinson wasn't going to tip off his game plan, but said, "I just don't want anybody to start pretending that Darrell Green isn't a great player. He's in that best corner in the league category and is going to be there for quite a while."

Coach Joe Gibbs of the Redskins isn't worried about Green.

"I'll kind of hang my hat with Darrell. If I go into a game, I'd say I hope they throw at Darrell."

Green, meanwhile, will be waiting to see what the Rams do.

"We'll see what happens. If I get 10, 11 balls [thrown at him], it'll be interesting," he said.

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