The NFL career of Hall of Famer Kurt Warner began 23 years ago, when St. Louis Rams quarterback Trent Green injured his knee in a preseason game.
Green’s son, Derek, doesn’t remember that moment, because he was less than a year old when Warner led the Rams to a Super Bowl XXXIV victory over the Tennessee Titans in 2000.
“I was about five months old for the Super Bowl parade,” Green told GreaterLongIsland.
Twenty-three years later, Derek Green will be a newbie of sorts at his new school, the Long Island University Sharks.
Green, who had been on the SMU Mustangs the past four years, entered the transfer portal as a grad student with two years of playing eligibility remaining. Once he did, LIU came calling.
There was just one problem.
“I had never heard of LIU before. Being from Kansas and playing in Texas, never heard of them … So I went to Google — and that was that,” he said.
In February, Green visited LIU and immediately was impressed with the new coaching staff and the vibe around campus.
“A whole new coaching staff is turning the program around,” Green said.
But what really enticed Green was the opportunity to play. He estimates he has thrown less than 10 passes during his career with SMU, as he’s been a backup and the team’s holder on special teams.
He appeared at quarterback in the season opener against Abilene Christian last season, attempting five passes with two completions for two yards. He also rushed two times for four yards.
“I was doing whatever I could to help the team and get on the field,” he said. “But here it felt like the best fit football wise with an opportunity to play.”
Although nothing has been promised to him, Green said he’ll enter camp with the “mindset that I’ll be starting…It means a lot to play and have fun.”
Green is studying the Sharks’ playbook and will be with the team for workouts in June.
He said he hopes his dad — who spent 12 seasons in the NFL and starts 113 games — will come down to see him play, but with his father’s busy football schedule as an NFL broadcaster, nothing is guaranteed.
Just like 23 years ago.