Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff: 43 Days with Michael Green

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Just 43 days remain until the first Sunday of the NFL season, meaning that today's installment of Chicago Bears Countdown to Kickoff focuses on the best player in franchise history to don the number 43, defensive back Michael Green.

Michael Green Chosen by Chicago Bears as Mr. Irrelevant in 2000 NFL Draft

Long before Green rocked the number 43 in Chicago, the future defensive back was born in Ruston, Louisiana, and would go on to attend the city's local high school. There, Green developed into a strong football player and runner for the track team and parlayed his talents into a scholarship offer from the nearby Northwestern State University.

In college, Green was able to continue his time as a two-sport athlete and helped the school win four total Conference Championships, two each in both football and track and field. Despite serving as his team's anchor on the 4 x 400-meter relay, Green's best moments as a college athlete came on the gridiron, where he was an integral part of the team's defensive backfield.

Over the course of his collegiate career, Green played in 33 total games where he logged 266 total tackles and four interceptions. His best season came as a senior in 1999, when he was voted as the All-Louisiana Defensive Player of the Year as well as being named to the All-American team for the second consecutive season, becoming just the fifth player in school history to be named to two selections.

Following a standout collegiate career that cumulated in a Defensive MVP nod during the All-Star Game, Green entered the 2000 NFL Draft. Green waited for a very long time to be selected but was finally chosen with the 254th pick during the seventh round by the Chicago Bears, making the Northwestern State standout the final player drafted in his class and that year's Mr. Irrelevant. This marked the second time in a row that the Bears used the last pick in the draft (they added fullback Jim Finn with the final pick in 1999). Coincidentally, Green and Finn are both recognized as some of the best final draft picks in NFL history. Even more interestingly, Northwestern State has had not one but two Mr. Irrelevant selections, with Green joining 1979 Steelers draftee Mike Almond.

Michael Green Becomes Starter in Chicago Bears' Secondary

Nonetheless, Green joined the Bears in 2000 but was kept to a reserve role, and only logged playing time in seven games as a rookie. By his second season, however, Green became a contributing member of the secondary, and found playing time in all 16 contests while making two starts on the year. In a productive season, Green finished with three sacks, 70 total tackles, and four pass deflections.

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The following season, Green became a starter and was able to play in all 16 of the team's games where he totaled five pass deflections, a sack, and 130 total tackles, the most amongst defensive backs across the entire league for the year. However, Green missed a considerable amount of the ensuing season and started in eight of the ten games that he was available. During the year, Green was able to record his first professional interception.

Green returned from injury in 2004 and reestablished himself as a full-time starter. He finished the season with a career-high two interceptions as well as nine pass deflections and 110 total tackles. After two strong seasons in three years in the strong safety position, Green returned to a reserve role in 2005. In what would be his final season with the Bears, Green started three of the 16 games he played where he recorded an interception and four pass deflections.

Following the 2005 season, Green was traded to the Seattle Seahawks. Unfortunately, before his first season with the new team, the defensive back suffered a season-ending injury during the preseason and was forced to make his Seahawks debut in 2007. There, Green appeared in 15 of the team's games and even recorded a start, finishing the season with 17 total tackles. At the end of the season, Green joined the Washington Redskins, where he made eight appearances before retiring the next offseason.

Michael Green Retires from NFL after 6 Seasons in Chicago

Green retired from the NFL after an eight-year career that saw six seasons spent with the Bears. In Chicago, the former Mr. Irrelevant made 45 starts in 81 games. In total, Green contributed four interceptions, 25 pass deflections, eight fumble recoveries, six sacks, and nearly 400 total tackles from 2000 to 2005.

Following his retirement from professional football, Green has received several honors, including being named a Top 100 player in Northwestern State history during the team's centennial anniversary celebration. Green was also inducted into the school's Atheltics Hall of Fame just a few years ago in 2019.

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Green's legacy is often overlooked when looking back in Chicago Bears history, but he was a reliable defensive back that played wherever when needed and did so at a fairly high level. Unfortunately, Green's trade to Seattle happened coincidentally months before the team's Super Bowl run, but the Northwestern State product was a key factor in helping a dominant defense reach the top of the NFL.