NFL

Green looks to follow in father's footsteps

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)

Panthers rookie wide receiver Jared Green learned quickly that his father is smarter than he is.

''There's a small percentage of kids who learn that, but I learned pretty early,'' he says laughing

Of course, not every child has a father who's a Hall of Fame cornerback that played 20 seasons with the Washington Redskins like he does.

Darrell Green, who went to seven Pro Bowls, has tried to install many of the qualities it takes to win in his son.

But the younger Green has to take a much tougher road to make it in the NFL.

Unlike his father, a first-round NFL draft pick in 1983, Jared Green went undrafted out of Southern and faces an uphill climb to the make the Carolina roster.

But that hardly means he's given up hope.

When Green looks at his opportunity with the Panthers he thinks of two words: Right now.

That's a message he and his father have discussed repeatedly.

''That's what we live our life by,'' Green said. ''Everybody in this position has an opportunity to make that big play and to do that big thing - and that can be on or off the field. When they give me that opportunity, right now is right now. Right now isn't tomorrow or next week, it's right now. Every time they call my number I have to make it happen.''

His father is confident he can.

Darrell Green took in Thursday's minicamp practice from the sidelines and has plenty of confidence his son can follow in his footsteps and make it in the NFL.

''He should have been drafted, I truly believe that,'' Darrell Green said. ''But he's taking the beltway around. And that's OK. But he's worked and worked and now he's going to have to keep working.''

In many ways, the elder Green sees a little bit of himself in his son.

Darrell Green went on to a stellar career with the Redskins despite playing at Texas A&M Kingsville, a school that doesn't produce too many NFL players.

''It's funny, when you go to a small college sometimes you come in with certain stereotypes and stigmas against you,'' Darrell Green said. ''It's like, `You can't do this. You can't do that.' There was a scout here that just came up to me and told me, `They told me Jared couldn't catch.' And I'm like, `Who told you that? There's no evidence of that anywhere.' But that's the way it is.''

Darrell Green heard it too when he was coming out of high school.

''They told me I was too little,'' Darrell Green said.

Jared Green is a little bigger than his 5-foot-9 father.

At 6-foot-1, he decided he'd be better off as a wide receiver.

What they do share is what they call ''Green speed.''

Darrell Green was won the NFL's Fastest Man competition four times during his career. He was clocked at 4.29 in the 40-yard dash coming out of college, which is one of the primary reasons he wound up getting drafted so high.

Jared Green runs it in 4.33.

''I feel like my speed is something that gets me in the door,'' Jared Green said. ''Now I just have to make plays.''

So far the Panthers like what they've seen in the younger Green.

''He has exceptional speed and catches the ball well and runs good routes,'' general manager Marty Hurney said. ''And his bloodlines are pretty good too.''

For now Jared Green's focus is on the mental side of the game, including learning the playbook.

''I have to learn everything and get in the book every day,'' Jared Green said. ''We're all good players, but sometimes it comes down to who is smart.''

Tagged: Panthers, Jared Green

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