On Monday night the Athletes Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hosted a lecture conducted by William Green, a former first round NFL Draft pick and a First Team All-American player at Boston College. The event lasted from 7:15–8 p.m. in the Strafford Room of the MUB, and was nearly filled to capacity as UNH students and faculty gathered to hear Green’s talk, entitled “Fame, Faith and Redemption.”
Green began his talk with an exhilarating flashback to his defining moment in NFL history. He described how he led the Cleveland Browns to the playoffs by running the ball for 30 long yards to score the final touchdown of the 2002 regular season. This moment would soon trigger a turning point in both his fame and purpose.
“[When I began running the ball], I was no longer running from the opponents on the field,” Green said. “I began running for myself.”
During his childhood, Green was confronted with multiple drawbacks. He said that he grew up in the “projects” of New Jersey with a heroin-addicted father and was left orphaned and afraid at the age of 13 when his father passed away due to complications from AIDS. Consequently, his mother had passed away earlier from AIDS complications.
“Don’t worry, one day I’ll be in the NFL,” was a constant phrase of both encouragement and hope that Green would use to soothe the fear of his siblings. Football had become his safe-haven, and although he got involved in some issues off the field, including substance abuse, his talent took him all the way through his football career at Boston College.
In 2002 his dream to be in the NFL became a reality when he was drafted as the 16th pick in the first round by the Browns. Finally, things were beginning to look up for Green and his family, especially in regard to financial support.
But when Green ran the ball for 30 yards and made the game-changing touchdown that led the Browns to the playoffs, he couldn’t even will himself to partake in the celebration.
A moment Green always believed would provide him security and peace had finally transpired, but all he felt was misery. This ultimate moment of fame, which produced extreme happiness for some and uproar for others, only created newfound disappointment for Green. He had finally achieved what he had always wished for, the one goal he used to create hope for his family, and he realized it just wasn’t enough.
After that point, Green soon got involved with more misconduct regarding his addiction to drugs and alcohol that went against the league’s substance-abuse policy and landed him with a four-game suspension in the 2003 season. It was evident to him that a change needed to be made in his lifestyle. In Green’s case, the beginning in his journey of redemption came about from acceptance of a higher power.
Upon realizing he was not the man, father or husband he had envisioned, Green said, “When I repented and turned my heart to the Lord, he filled me with His Spirit.”
By the time Green began to turn his life around and save the man he knew he could be, it was too late to salvage an NFL career. Faith had already begun to change the way he played his sport, but the opportunities to get back on the field were few and far between.
“It was hard to convince my coaches I had become a new man,” Green said.
Although Green’s release from the NFL ended his career, he left with a new profession. His story seemed to send a strong message to all who attended the lecture: putting your hope and identity into a higher power bigger than yourself is the only way to achieve true peace.
Green now travels as a motivational speaker, preaching the power of spirituality and how it made him a healthier man, husband and father of eight.

Executive Editor