WASHINGTON -- Don't tell Washington Redskins cornerback Darrell Green he's a hero.
He brushed it off that he played the second half of yesterday's NFC title game against the Detroit Lions with bruised ribs.
Asked how he played despite the pain, he said: "You're trying to make me a hero. It's hard to not play in a game like this. You look at Jerry Ball [Detroit's nose tackle]. He hasn't been able to play [because of a knee injury]. That's a real tough thing to do. You've been there all year. You want to play. Something deep down pulls you up."
Green, who was hurt in the second quarter while trying to tackle Barry Sanders, sat out the second quarter but came back in the second half. He ran down Mel Gray from behind on a kickoff, and later intercepted a pass and ran it back 32 yards for the final touchdown of the Redskins' 41-10 victory, with 5 minutes, 11 seconds left.
When Green was asked why he was still playing at that point with the bruised ribs and the game decided, he said: "Coming in and coming out is not my decision. That's the coaches' decision. They probably got caught up in the wash of the game and eventually somebody said upstairs, 'Hey, get Darrell out of there.' That's not a big concern. If they would have taken me out, I wouldn't have gotten the interception. I was glad to get it."
Green said he didn't know whether he'd be able to play when he returned in the second half.
"I said to the coach, 'Let me go out and see.' I made him no promises. I said, 'We'll find out on the field.' A few years ago [in a 1987 playoff game against the Chicago Bears], I hurt my ribs [running a punt for a touchdown]. I went back in the next play and the next play told me, 'You'd better get out of here.' I think that's what you have to do. You have to go out and let the game tell you what you can do. Hey, adrenalin gets flowing," he said.
Green said the ribs still were bothering him after the game, although he didn't take any pain-killing shots.
"They're not too good right now," he said. "I think they gave me some aspirin or something, but I don't give credit to the aspirin. I give credit to the Lord for blessing me. I wasn't able to get any shots. The pain was really still there. It's still there right now."
While Green was out in the second quarter, Detroit scored its 10 points, but Richie Petitbon, the assistant coach who runs the defense, said Green's absence wasn't the reason Detroit rallied -- nor was the loss of safety Danny Copeland, also in the second quarter.
"There was really no difference, OK?" Petitbon said. "All we did was say that we had to improve a little bit on what we were doing. His not being in the game really didn't affect their scoring. They were not throwing to Darrell Green's man. They were passes in the soft part of the zone. We corrected that and played in much better."
Green's now looking forward to the Super Bowl in two weeks against the Buffalo Bills.
"In my opinion, the Bills were always one of the best teams, if not the best team over the last two or three years, and I expected to see them in the playoffs and in the Super Bowl. But we're going to win. It doesn't matter. You can run, but you can't hide. You've got to show up. I'm not excited it's Buffalo. I'm excited about the Washington Redskins."
He then was asked whether he had said the team was going to win. Since the Redskins rarely boast, that sounded like an unusual statement.
G; Green said he meant to say, "We're going there to win."
Super Bowl appearances
Leading teams in number of Super Bowl games, counting the Redskins' appearance on Jan. 26:
Team.. .. .. .. Number
Cowboys.. .. .. 5
Dolphins. .. .. 5
Redskins. .. .. 5
Broncos.. .. .. 4
49ers. .. .. .. 4
Raiders.. .. .. 4
Steelers. .. .. 4
Vikings.. .. .. 4