Jamaal Green has gone from patrolling the line of scrimmage to patrolling the US-Mexican border. A former DE standout at The U, Green had his cup of coffee in the NFL but decided it wasn’t for him. What was for him was standing in the desert in 100-degree heat in El Paso, Texas, watching for border jumpers.
(Green practicing taking down drug runners on poor Marc Bulger.)
Perhaps not the most common career path for Green, who admits he didn’t idolize athletes growing up but rather “looked up to law enforcement officers as heroes.” But he seems happy. Unlike those who see his 260 lb. frame coming towards them in the course of his job.
Still it begs the question: how did Green get here?
It’s actually a simple answer: he never really wanted to play football.
Green, who was born and raised in Camden, N.J., said it was never his boyhood dream to play football. He started playing high school football during his junior year at at the urging of one of the team’s coaches.
“He saw I had some kind of athletic ability, and he saw how big I was,” said the 6-foot-3-inch former athlete. “I picked up the game pretty well.”
Well enough to earn a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he led the team in sacks. From there it was on to the NFL. Green was taken in the fourth round by the Eagles, but a rash of injuries set in. He missed his entire first year, and half of his second, then drifted around to Chicago and Washington.
But why the Border Patrol?
It was during a home game with the Redskins that, during a pregame show, Green discovered the U.S. Border Patrol.
“The Border Patrol was at the game doing a pregame show with the National Anthem. They were saluting at the game, and that was the first time I’ve ever seen the Border Patrol,” Green said.
Green, who majored in criminology at the University of Miami, said his wife, Nailah, knew about the agency and once thought about applying there.
I’m going to ignore the fact that someone who majored in criminology hadn’t heard of the Border Patrol, because his motives seem pretty sincere.
After growing up in Camden and seeing first-hand how drugs and gangs could destroy families, Green said he could make a difference in combating those problems by becoming a Border Patrol agent.
“It’s one thing to be talking about it, and another thing to do something and prevent it,” Green said.
Many of Green’s co-workers have asked Green why he gave up the glamourous life of an NFL player to become an agent. While at the Border Patrol academy, Green said he received calls from the Oakland Raiders and the Houston Texans with offers to join their respective practice squads, but Green declined.
“They (co-workers) said, “That’s crazy that you would do that, leave your dream to come to the Border Patrol,’ ” Green said. “I tell them that was never my dream. It was a quick way for me to earn a free ride to school. I stayed in football long enough to get out of there safe. In my position (as defensive end), it’s so brutal that by the age of 45 you might not be able to walk straight. My health is more important than the extra money.”