Tim Green: ‘I Spent My Spare Time In The NFL Reading, Writing And Studying Law’

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(Credit: Allen Steele/Getty Images)

(Credit: Allen Steele/Getty Images)

A lot of former professional athletes become coaches, analysts, entrepreneurs – this, that and the other.

Tim Green? He became a children’s author.

Earlier this month, the former Atlanta Falcons defensive end released New Kid, which tells the story of Tommy, a new kid in town who joins a baseball team to try to fit in. When a prank goes awry, however, it leads to all sorts of problems – both for Tommy and others.

“I think what I was looking for here – and it’s the 13th book of the series – I wanted to kind of get back to the suspense novels I was writing for adults,” Green, 50, said on The John Feinstein Show. “The father is such a dark and dangerous character (with) what he has going on in his world – and it really does interact, I think, very naturally with the kid’s baseball story. But yeah, this is dangerous, and there is a lot of tension and suspense in this story. But I love the ending.”

New Kid is Green’s 29th book. His work has sold more than one million copies.

It may seem strange for a former NFL player to become an accomplished author, but for those who knew Green during his playing days, it isn’t. He played in the NFL and went to law school at the same time, eventually graduating from Syracuse.

Green said his academic pursuits made him an anomaly in an NFL locker room, but he never struggled to fit in. In fact, it was the exact opposite.

“Honestly, the guys on my team, they respected it – dare I say, admire it,” Green said. “They really did. They never had to question my commitment as a player. I would always come back in (the) summertime and we would test for endurance, and I would always be one of the best – if not the single best – in shape. So they knew how dedicated I was to my training and being in shape and my dedication as a teammate and as a player with my assignments and always giving every bit of effort I had.

“So it wasn’t as though I was kind of shirking and deficient on the football side of things so they could say, ‘Come on, get your nose out of those books.’ I was really committed. I was a passionate player. The fact that I spent my spare time reading, writing, studying law – it was a bit of a novelty, and I took some kidding, but it was all good-natured.”

Green said all players, inevitably, must deal with life after football, and it’s far better to prepare for that life while you’re still playing.

“I think they heard the sound of that oncoming train,” Green said of his former teammates. “You go through that tunnel of professional sports, and the light at the end of that tunnel is a train – and it’s life after sports. And I think they all saw it and knew it and heard it. Most of them were just paralyzed with fear or complacency and didn’t do anything about it – and they knew that I did. And they did admire it.”

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