By Lisa Zimmerman, Player Engagement Insider
Ahman Green lives in two worlds. In one, he’s a serious, motivated and successful business man, husband and father. In the other, he’s Batman.
From the time he was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in 1998, the four-time Pro Bowl running back found ways to make a significant impact throughout his 12 years in the NFL during which he also played for the Green Bay Packers (2000-2006, 2009) and Houston Texans. He was selected as the NFC Offensive Player of the year in 2003 with the Packers, is a member of the team’s Hall of Fame and remains their all-time leading rusher.
Now 39, Green, who was a multi-sport athlete in high school, has always been goal-oriented and determined to reach the highest level of whatever he has undertaken. He was a strong student both at Omaha Central High School in Nebraska and at the University of Nebraska. With methodical focus, he achieved at every stage.
“Grades weren’t a problem because I studied hard,” Green said. “Then I got to college, and I knew I could start. Then I became a starter. Once I got the starting job I never gave it up.”
Playing in the NFL became a serious goal in his freshman year at Nebraska, but he knew he had to have wider view of life outside of football. Once in the NFL, he quickly began to expand his horizons.
“As a kid, I learned back in high school between talking to my brothers and watching TV that I could get injured and I’d have to have a back-up plan,” Green said. “Plan A was to get my college degree first. Plan B was to be able to do something (besides football).”
Although Green left Nebraska after his junior year, he immediately began taking classes while living in Seattle and in 2003 he officially received his college diploma.
Once he arrived in Green Bay, Green launched a side career in radio, co-hosting an hour-long show discussing a wide range of topics, including movies of which he had always been a big fan. And things evolved from there. He made some connections and was ultimately able to pursue an interest in acting. He subsequently made cameo appearances in some small films and was then cast in a small role in actor and comedian Rob Schneider’s movie, Big Stan. In 2016, he played “Inmate Thug” in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. In the fall of 2016, Green moved on to the stage where he played Hall of Fame Packers linebacker Dave Robinson in the Sheboygan Theatre Company’s production of Lombardi.
While his performing career continues to expand, Green has not lost focus on his other professional endeavors. In addition to running the Ahman Green Foundation, he currently owns two D1 Training franchises (one in Wisconsin and one in Nebraska) and also serves as the Social Media Director for the NFL Legends Community. Green explained that the transition into these new roles wasn’t without its challenges.
“You’ve got to make people understand the new you and that you’re more than football,” he said. “That’s what I’ve learned the most. You’ve got to re-create yourself. And, they’re not going to hand it to you. You’re not the starter anymore.”
Despite all his new responsibilities and projects, Green’s childhood interest in video games and comic books has not waned.
“I’ve been playing video games since I’m six,” Green said. “It’s technology it’s learning something new. Learning how to play the game.”
And in the world of comic books, it’s all about the superheroes.
“They’re totally awesome,” Green said. “I was 12 and already into the Batman TV series with Adam West. Then Tim Burton directed the Batman movie. I was done. I was a Batman fan. I went to my barbershop and had the barber cut the Batman symbol into the back of my hair. I went to football practice, took my helmet off and my coaches and teammates started calling me Batman. I still run into people from back then and they don’t even know real name. It’s hilarious.”
So, what is it about Batman that has so captivated him?
“He’s the best. He’s one of the only superheroes without superhuman strength and he still kicks everyone’s butt.”
Green is a frequent attendee of conventions like Comic Con. But you will be hard-pressed to find him. Because, naturally, he’s dressed as…Batman. He’s also recruited his step-daughter who accompanies him dressed as various characters as well. While his wife doesn’t participate in the dressing up, she’s perfectly content with her husband’s hobby, especially because at Christmas, buying presents couldn’t be less stressful.
“The first Christmas we were together she said, ‘This is like shopping for a five-year-old. It’s so easy,’” Green recalled with a laugh.
And what would be his response to someone who might call him a nerd for this obsession?
Lisa Zimmerman is a long-time NFL writer and reporter. She was the Jets correspondent for CBSSports.com, SportsNet New York’s TheJetsBlog.com and Sirius NFL Radio. She has also written for NFL.com.