Texans general manager Rick Smith and running back Ahman Green spoke to the media Monday to announce that Green had signed a free agent contract with the team.
**Texans General Manager Rick Smith
(opening statement)** "I want to thank everyone for joining us this afternoon. We are very, very excited about today and about having a guy like Ahman Green join our organization. When we started free agency, we targeted Ahman as a guy who could come in and really make a difference for our football team, for our organization and for our city. He is a high character individual who has a passion for the game of football. I just think that the leadership he will provide for our team as well as the production on the field will be something that we all will be excited about watching, and he brings a great deal to the table. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce and welcome Ahman Green to the Texans family."
**RB Ahman Green
(opening statement)** "Thank you, Rick. I would like to thank the Houston Texans for giving me the opportunity to basically further my career playing football, one of the great loves in my life right now, along with my family that I have. Just to be here feels good. When I got off the plane, I definitely got the big Texas welcome flying down here from my first visit on the private jet and all that.
"For me, this is definitely a big change. The majority of my career was in Green Bay and I did a lot for them and the organization and the state and the city. Personally, it was a tough decision, but from being in this profession and being a fan of it, I know that changes happen. For the most part what I've learned growing up as a kid, most change is good. The changes in my life that I have experienced, moving back from California and Los Angeles and being a Cornhusker and making that decision and leaving college early to get drafted and end up in Seattle to Green Bay, all of this has been a blessing for myself; I never look back. It's a good opportunity. I've been to Houston many times before and every time I've visited and left I'm like, 'I could live here. It's a nice city.' Now to become a part of the community and part of this team, I can't wait. I love football. One of the reasons I played football when I was a kid, it was a sport that I just had the knack for. Playing running back, I played most of the time; sometimes I played linebacker and I punted. So if you guys ever need me to do punting, I definitely could oblige no problem. Once again, I'm really overwhelmed. I know I've said a lot, but there is a lot more I would love to say, but it's just a good feeling going on right now."
(on his thoughts on the Texans) "I have always been watching the Texans from their inception with the picks they made with (QB) David (Carr) and some in the supplemental draft they had to have. And with (DE) Mario (Williams), they are definitely making the moves to get in the situation to be a contender. Knowing what they have offensively, (WR) Andre (Johnson) being one of the weapons and David getting the ball to him and knowing a couple guys on the offensive line, (T) Ephraim Salaam and (C) Mike Flanagan and also in the back field (FB) Vonta Leach and some of the other running backs as well that we have in terms of offensive. I know what they have on defense, (LB) DeMeco (Ryans) being Defensive Rookie of the Year, just knowing that we definitely have what we need to get there. First, become a contender in the division, first and foremost, and basically from there getting to the playoffs. And with me coming into this equation and knowing coach Sherman and how he runs an offensive game and coach Kubiak, I'm patiently waiting, but very anxious to get the ball rolling."
(on his perception of the Texans' offense) "From the offensive standpoint, it was a lot of David Carr needs protection in terms of the O-line and getting the running game going. He's getting the ball to Andre (Johnson) and making big plays down the field, just the fact that, as a running back, seeing a quarterback getting hit a lot, I don't like. A lot of the young guys in Green Bay, I've taught them that; we're the last line of defense on a pass play and I will bring that to the table down here. I love picking up the blitz outside of running the ball. I'm not going to say I'll block every guy, but pretty much I'll say 99 percent of the time I'll pick up the blitz and protect David or (QB) Sage (Rosenfels) or whoever is back there. I'm going to do my job, along with the offensive linemen, tight ends, guys of that nature and give the quarterback a little bit of extra time to get the ball down the field."
(on his injury and the work ethic he used to return) "I can detail that very well: Minnesota Vikings, Oct. 24, third quarter on a toss play to the right. I felt it go right away, no pain at all from the time it popped. I was carted in and basically right there I looked into Bryan Engel, one of our trainer's eyes who was in the X-ray room with me to kind of see exactly what it was. I said, 'What is the soonest time I can get surgery and get back in the workout room?' And he said, 'That's up to you.' And I said, 'Ok, alright.' I talked to the doctor and he said, 'Tuesday, or we can wait a week or a month or we can go in,' and I said, 'What is the soonest we can go in?' And he said, 'It's up to you,' and I said, 'We can go in a couple days, no problem,' and we did. Two days later, on the 26th, I had surgery.
"From that point on, my mindset, I wasn't the typical 'woe is me, dang it, I'm missing out a year, it's deep in my career and it's going to be tough to come back from this.' I was pretty much the opposite because I've been around guys who have had ACLs, who had season-ending injuries that put a burden in their brain about their career. I have been around that so I looked at it the opposite way. I said, 'You know what? This is my time to have a vacation but I'm rehabbing and I'm still working.' I had a chance to have a normal Thanksgiving, a normal Christmas, staying up late wrapping gifts, stuff like that, having a good time and enjoying my God-given time off from a profession that I put 110 percent into everyday out there on the field. So I pretty much had a chance to get back to my family and be with them.
"I would say with that, my family knew how important it was for me to get back on the field so when it was my time to get back rehabbing they were all supportive. They knew I could put in a little bit of extra time stretching and getting the rehab and building the muscle back up. And before I know it, I was walking and running way before the doctors wanted me to and surprisingly to know that I was out there doing it. I remember I had surgery on Thursday and Dr. (Patrick) McKenzie* *basically told me, 'We want you on crutches for at least two weeks.' I was off of them in two days; I couldn't take it. It was a handicap to be thinking that you have to do the crutches. I was walking around without crutches two days later. From that point on, I had the mental mindset, 'I'm going to beat this and I'm going to get back on the field in nine or ten months,' which I did, and it was just a slow process once I got back running on the field in practice and two-a-days in July and August, and I was back on the field feeling normal. It took a couple games to really get full tilt, but once I got back in the groove, I got back in the groove."
(on if he feels he'll be better in his second season after the injury) "That's what Dr. McKenzie said, and I'm feeling that right now. I'm a gym rat. I've been working out on my own at my home in Green Bay; I have a workout room there. I've been champing at the bit to be running in some good weather down here and get in shape a lot quicker."
(on the impact of Green's signing on the team's draft priorities)** "I'll tell you, it doesn't from the standpoint that we're going to prepare in our draft and we're going to evaluate the players and rank our board where it is and take the player at that position that warrants the pick. It does certainly answer our question at running back. We feel like we've got a guy who can produce in this offense and can carry the load for us."
(on the status of RB Domanick Williams) "Domanick actually went and visited the doctor. He had some swelling in his knee. He's been doing a really nice job in the rehab process and it actually had gotten to a point in the rehab process where he was strength training more than anything. He had some swelling in his knee a couple of weeks ago and we sent him to a specialist in Atlanta, and he's going to have to have some additional surgery, so the jury's still out on where he is in his rehab process. He did experience a setback, so we're not sure what's going to happen with Domanick."
(on how he developed his work ethic) "I've been like this since I was a kid; since the ripe old age of, I'd say 13, where I could hit the weights physically. My brothers all played high school football and they made me do push-ups and sit-ups prior to lifting weights because they knew you don't want to lift too early and you don't want to stunt your growth. My mom and dad were worried about that, so they were like, 'Don't you touch any weights until you get to high school,' and basically I did that. My older brother, who is about to retire as a policeman in Omaha, Nebraska right now, he basically would take me once or twice a week my freshman, sophomore, junior and senior year with him to his gym and work out. That right there, I knew to do what I want to do—I was a baseball player as well—so to do one of them, I've got to go hard in terms of the weight room.
"I already knew how important academics was; I was an A-B student, and I learned that in little league when I was growing up in Los Angeles playing for Baldwin Hills and we had to have a B average to stay on the team. Also, my mom and dad were no joke either. I had to abide by their rules, too. With that, once I got in that weight room, the sky was the limit. I already had God-given talent of speed and strength, but when I got in that weight room, it took me to another level. Then I started running track my freshman year of high school at Omaha North, and my junior year I transferred to Omaha Central, where also I added power lifting to my résumé of extracurricular activities. With that, that basically made me into a football-built speed demon with size that a lot of college coaches and a lot of high school coaches wished they had in the backfield, but one coach definitely did and was happy I was there at Omaha Central."
(on Texans offensive coordinator Mike Sherman's role in his decision to sign with Houston) "Well, when I sat down with him when I got here this weekend and just talking to him about our days back in Green Bay, and we laughed and joked about that, and what I would bring to the table and where he's at in terms of scheme and things, and how he's implementing the power game and mixing it in with the zone blocking scheme. That right there, I just felt real comfortable with it. It was a big part of my decision. With learning the zone blocking scheme last year with (Green Bay head coach Mike) McCarthy, and prior to that knowing what I know in terms of the power game and the counter game with coach Sherman, it's an ideal mix. It's a good little thing that I can't wait to be a part of."
(on not playing with Green Bay QB Brett Favre anymore) "It's going to be…with that part, I've gone through a range of emotions over the last several hours, over the last night, so yeah, it's going to be different. It's definitely going to be different. When you play with a guy that long, quarterback, wide receivers, linemen, everybody I was with, you get used to the way they play and the way they react to certain things. You can just look at each other. Brett could just look at me and give me that look that I know that he's coming to me if it's a pass play or he needs me to pick up the blitz; he lets me know right away. He'll just make a gesture. So that part is going to be different back there, so I've basically got to pick that up with my new guys, the same thing. We got there basically by just hanging out with each other, not just on the field but off the field; learning about where they're from, where their family's from and how many kids they've got, things like that. That's what we've got, and I know I can do the same thing here."
(on Favre hanging out with him off the field) "Yes he did. I wasn't a hunter like he is, but we had a good time."