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Green already in comfort zone


Flexibility and playoff expierience are just two things that Green has brought to Houston.

While other offensive players take a short break as special teams work in practice, running back Ahman Green is on the side busily moving back and forth, stretching in different contortions.

The always moving Green seems to not want a break. But there's a method to his intensity.

"I've been doing it for the past four years," Green said. "It's called movement prep. There are other names for it but that's the way I learned it.

"It's active stretching, active movement. You're moving while you stretch. You're stretching your hams, your thighs, your muscles. But you're moving while you're doing it. You're training your muscles so that when you're running, it is better prepared.

"I do yoga and I'm doing mostly Pilates now during the season. This movement prep is an extension of that. It comes from the Pilates"

It all started when Green went back to his alma mater, Nebraska, four years ago to finish his degree.

"I went in to see the massage therapist there," Green said. "He had this big contraption in his office. I said, 'What's this?' He said it was 'The Reformer" and I asked him to show me how you do it. It looked interesting."

The machine had ropes and pulleys to help a person stretch and do Pilates. "I said, 'Where can I get one?'" Green said. "The average person probably wouldn't get one of them but you don't really need them when you're in Pilates. You can just follow the regular program.

"I recommend it for everybody, not just for athletes. This is something I can do when I'm done playing football, hopefully even when I'm playing with my grandchildren. It helps you stay loose, stay warm and stay ready to play when I'm not out there. I've been doing it forever."

Something else he has been doing forever is running these very plays. Green sometimes feels like he's been a Texan a long time since he played under Texans assistant head coach/offensive coordinator Mike Sherman, who was head coach at Green Bay before coming to Houston. Sherman brought his offense with him.

"The comfort level is very high for me now," Green said. "The playbook, I look at it and I can't believe it. I've been running this for the past seven or eight years. It takes no thought process.

"I just have to learn how my new teammates play, how the line plays, how the fullback is going to block and things like that. I already know the plays and I can just run them like I always have."

Coach Gary Kubiak has noticed how quickly Green has fit in offensively.

"He's a pro," Kubiak said. "Things are easy for him. He knows things from running Sherm's offense before. The good thing is we don't have to work him out. We know he knows what to do and where to go."

That was one reason Green chose Houston over Denver when the free-agent bidding began.

"That was part of it," Green said. "It's just like if you are a businessman changing jobs. You want to go to a company where there isn't much change in your office work. The same kind of office, the same kind of work. That was one reason I came here. I knew if I came here, I wouldn't have to learn much at all."

{QUOTE} Green might still be working in that Green Bay office, where he spent the last seven years and made the Pro Bowl four times while rushing for 8,162 yards and 53 touchdowns. He even expected to be back at Green Bay in 2007 but the Packers' front office didn't pursue him much.

"I was hoping to go back to Green Bay," Green said. "Green Bay obviously thought I was just going to stay there, which I was. But they kind of took me for granted.

"So when Denver and Houston called, I decided to check them out. Seeing Houston, the way they wanted me so much, that made a difference. Being wanted means a lot."

Coach Gary Kubiak certainly wanted Green.

"When Ahman Green walks on the football field, it's instant respect because of the way he's played," Kubiak said. "The guys that we have on our team that are up in years, so to speak, and have been playing for a while are classy guys and that's what we want because we have such a young group that they have to have good role models every day. I think we've got that right now."

At 30, Green doesn't mind being referred to as "up in years."

"Age is just a number," Green said. "I don't care if I'm 40, as long as I can still do the things as a running back I'm going to do it at 40. When I say youth, I'm talking about on the field, playoffs, championship games, that type of youth.

"There's not a lot of guys that have done it. Myself—playoffs, (DT) Jeff (Zgonina), the defensive lineman—Super Bowl. People like that that have come in and have that experience, we want it to rub off on the young guys. Right now, it is that they're so hungry that they need guidance. They want to get there."

EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Carley is a veteran Houston sportswriter who has covered the NFL for more than 25 years. He has worked for such newspapers as the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, The Houston Post, the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner and the National Sports Daily covering such teams as the Dallas Cowboys, the Houston Oilers, the Los Angeles Rams and the Oakland Raiders.

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