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Green honored by Omaha Press Club


This caricature of Ahman Green will remain encased in the barroom floor until the next honoree is selected.

Under normal circumstances, having your face on the barroom floor might be considered an insult. Not in Omaha, Nebraska, however. Thursday evening, Houston Texans running back Ahman Green became the 117th person to be honored by The Omaha Press Club as the "Face on the Barroom Floor."

The honor is bestowed upon newsmakers from Nebraska, preferably those who hail from Omaha. The Face on the Barroom Floor is, quite literally, a caricature of the honoree which is placed in a glass frame in the floor of the bar at the Omaha Press Club, which is located on the 22nd floor of the First National Center in downtown Omaha.

The caricature remains encased in the barroom floor until the next honoree is selected, after which it goes up on the wall in the Press Club's restaurant for posterity. 116 Nebraskans have had their mugs trod upon before Green. The two previous honorees in what is a diverse list were Larry the Cable Guy, a Nebraska native and Warren Buffett, the richest man in the world and a lifelong Omahan.

{QUOTE}Having his face caricatured on the floor of the Omaha Press Club may be an honor for Green, but a roast before the unveiling gave former teammates and coaches – and a few of his Texans teammates – a chance to get in some good-natured jabs. One of the most common targets of derision was Green's obsession with Batman.

"If you don't know, Ahman has a tattoo on his calf of a grown man who wears tights, a cape and a mask," said Jono Bradford, Green's quarterback at Omaha Central.

"Ahman, you are not Batman," chimed in Green Bay Packers guard Marco Rivera via video, holding up an action figure as evidence. "You do not look like this guy. He's a lot bigger than you and he has pointy bat ears."

Rivera piled on, trading the action figure for a toy Batplane: "You don't have one of these in your garage."

Green's Texans teammates teamed up in a video "tribute," ripping into his unique sense of style.

"My favorite AG moment was one time he had on these jeans. These jeans were a light tint — a light tint like they were made in the 80's. And not only were they light tint, they were tight. They were like Under Armor jeans!" running back Darius Walker said.

The other backs piled on Ahman's choice of denim:

"I think D-Walk already hit on this, but his jeans, they're like spray-on jeans!" fullback Jon Abbate said.

"AG, you're a multimillionaire. I don't know whether you need to fire your tailor or get bigger jeans," fullback Vonta Leach said.

"AG, your jeans are too tight, bro. Your jeans are too tight. I know people there are probably laughing, but yes, your jeans are too tight," fullback Jameel Cook said.

Left tackle Ephraim Salaam picked on Green's hair.

"Although he does wear beads with his braids, he can still run fast. Even though I have spoken out – loudly – about him looking like Venus, he still goes with his beaded braids," Salaam said.

Green's former college coach Tom Osborne and former Green Bay teammate William Henderson added some heartfelt comments about what made him truly worthy of being honored by his hometown. Henderson talked about what kind of man his friend is off the field.

"What I will say about Ahman Green is, and this is coming from his teammates, it's easy to make fun of people who deserve it, but it's real difficult to find jokes about a guy like Ahman because he gives his heart and he gives his soul to everything that he does," Henderson said.

"Ahman has touched me like a brother touched me, and I will always have respect for this gentleman, because he is one, and I will always have respect for his family because they raised him. Ahman Green is a fantastic gentleman and every accolade that you get, you deserve it."

Osborne, himself a former Face on the Barroom Floor, talked about knowing Green as a young man and his satisfaction at seeing the man he's become.

"I'm really proud that Ahman has started a foundation and is trying to help kids," Osborne said. "We appreciate all that he's done for the community here. I know in Green Bay he was very active, and certainly now down in Houston. I'm really proud of all that he's accomplished and I want to congratulate you on being the Face on the Barroom Floor."

Green, an Omaha native, starred at Omaha Central High School before going on to an All-American career at the University of Nebraska, helping the Cornhuskers claim national titles in 1995 and 1997. He still holds the Nebraska freshman rushing record with 1,086 yards in 1995. Green has gained a combined 11,584 yards rushing and receiving and has scored 70 touchdowns in his 10-year NFL career. From 2000-04, he was the most productive running back in the NFL, rushing for a league-best 6,848 yards.

Green has also made an impact on the community around him throughout his career. In 2001, he established the Ahman Green Foundation for Youth Development. Its primary mission is to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs in Green Bay and Omaha and Girls Inc. in Omaha. While at Nebraska, he volunteered time to the Husker Outreach program. Last year after joining the Texans, he helped put a down payment on a home for a single mother in Houston in an agreement with free safety Jason Simmons in exchange for Simmons' No. 30 jersey.

The Face on the Barroom Floor is a tradition of the Omaha Press Club first started in 1971 with then-Omaha mayor Gene Leahy. Including Green, 117 Nebraskans have been honored in the past 37 years, an average of approximately three per year. Other past honorees include former Nebraska coaches Osborne and Bob Devaney, Heisman Trophy winner Johnnie Rodgers, president Gerald Ford, former Nebraska governor Bob Kerrey and Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers, who was also an Omaha Central alumnus.

After his friends had their chance to lampoon him to their heart's content, the last word belonged to Green. He thanked the Press Club for bestowing such an honor on him and then reminded his friends that revenge is a dish best served cold, to the delight of the audience.

"Trust me, y'all are gonna get payback," Green said. "It's coming. You'd better remember I'm Batman — I will find you!"

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