TSF Interview: New England Patriots Defensive End Jarvis Green
Not many players around the league have a thirst for helping his fellow man like Jarvis Green. With the passing this off season of his good friend Marquise Hill to a freak water accident, Jarvis has refocused his goals to make sure Marquise’s son Ma’shy is taken care of mentally and financially through his foundation.
There’s a certain humility the New England Patriots possess as they try to get back to the Super Bowl and Jarvis is no different. He’s not only a football player, he’s an entrepreneur making sure he and his are well taken care of after retirement.
This is not just a football interview. There are more important things than going 16-0.
Michael Tillery: Jarvis, what are the goals of your foundation and who does it benefit?
Jarvis Green: My goals are to give funds to the people of New Orleans affected by Hurricane Katrina as well as people in the northeast who need support. That was the purpose of my wine tasting event. There are also mothers out there raising families alone because they’ve lost their children’s fathers or working capital that need support.
MT: Were you personally affected? I’ve talked to many athletes and they’ve reiterated that it almost looks like the hurricane hit yesterday in some areas.
JG: I’ve been down there back into the city–downtown–hanging out and enjoying some of the events this past summer. Events like the Essence Festival. Downtown is great. It looks better than before.
I have a lot of aunties and uncles across Industrial Canal. It was not a low income area. If you go there, you would think the storm just hit. I remember going there for a reunion–a year later–and people still didn’t have running water. They didn’t have street lights up. Still living in trailers. Living like it was a third world country. That was amazing to see–even still.
MT: Do you know of players in the league who have been affected?
JG: There are a lot of players who have families down there going through it. There also are a lot of players at my school (LSU) who are playing football, but a lot of their family members are not doing too well down there.
I know Tory James went through so much stuff. He went through hell with his family. You have these brothas who are NFL successes whose families still need a lot of help.
MT: Why do you think there is nothing getting done?
JG: I don’t want to get too political, but Bush is asking for money for the troops. It’s good that we are helping and all but we need to take care of our own people. I know Mayor Nagin personally. I’ve been down there once or twice to talk to him. He seems like a great guy, but I think he needs more support from everyone.
MT: You’ve also had a charity wine tasting event.
JG: I wanted to do something different–something classy. I wanted to start a new tradition. I wanted people to come chill and have a good time. Something social for a great cause. The event (was held) at Johnson and Wales Hotel in Seekonk, MA. We had appetizers. Chris Gasbarro has a huge winery and donated the wine.
Marquise’s wife Inell with portrait of Marquise at Green’s wine tasting event
MT: As one of Marquise Hill’s boys, how are you going to carry on his memory?
Marquise and son Ma’shy
JG: Christening his son Ma’shy Hill and making him my godson. I’m going to be somebody that is there for him–I’m taking over on that.
As far as Marquise–we had our ups and downs–but I’ve known him since he was in 10th grade. I was a mentor to him in college and the NFL. Losing a guy like that is hard. Number one, because he was part of this team. Looking at his locker every single day with his picture…he’s a fallen soldier. I know life goes on, but at the same time, I will do whatever in remembrance of him. Some of the proceeds collected by my foundation will go to Ma’shy’s private trust fund.
MT: Since 2001 the Patriots have turned it around and became one of the model franchises in sports. Where does the winning attitude with this team start?
JG: I think it starts up top with management and filters down to guys in the locker room. The older guys help the younger guys with no ego to help them get things right the first time. It becomes contagious and guys expect a lot from each other.
MT: Before the season, the team loaded up in acquiring Adalius Thomas, Wes Welker, Donte Stallworth and of course Randy Moss–all having great years. Were you shocked the team was able to land so many high caliber players?
JG: We weren’t shocked. The players were out there and the coaches and management did what they had to do. Had nothing to do with us. It’s there decision. Whoever they brought in, it’s our responsibility to tie them into the system so we all gel together. We still have to go out there and perform.
MT: What does Adalius add to the team?
JG: He’s a great player Mike. He’s a Pro Bowl player. He makes a lot of plays from his position. He’s definitely a plus for this defense.
MT: Talk about this year and your quest to become the first team since 1972 Dolphins to go undefeated.
JG: Every team we play, we know we are going to get their “A” game and that is fine with us. Philadelphia played its best game of the season two weeks ago, and Baltimore did the same thing on (last) Monday night. They have us targeted and they are focused and they want to end our quest at finishing the season undefeated.
We know we are part of history. We’re the first 12-0 team in Patriots history, which is special to all of us. And we know, in the back of our minds, that 16-0 is out there. You can’t help but pay a little bit of attention to it.
It isn’t our focus, though. We have four tough games remaining, none tougher than the one that faces us on Sunday against Pittsburgh. The Steelers are going to bring everything they have against us. They are a 9-3 team with high aspirations, so we have to play our best football to beat them (New England dominated Pittsburgh 34-13 to run record to 13-0. Definitely a pick I blew).
It’s exciting for us, but I honestly can tell you it has been this way for every one of my seasons. Our goal is to win the Super Bowl. We aren’t getting caught up in all the hype, because as far as we’re concerned, we’re just part of the way toward our goal.
MT: Who are some of your inspirations and who around the league do you enjoy watching?
JG: I didn’t watch much football coming up. When I did, I watched the Giants. There was something about that team. Lawrence Taylor, Pepper Johnson…it’s funny because he’s my defensive line coach now. I love working for Pep. I loved the way the Giants played defense.
As far as admiring guys in the league? The guys on my team. Teddy Bruschi? That guy! The stuff that he went through. Junior Seau? Eighteen years in the league at linebacker? That speaks for itself.
MT: You have a restaurant soon to open. What are your goals as an entrepreneur?
JG: The name of it is The Capitol (to honor the one brief year (1830-1831) that his hometown of Donaldsonville spent as Louisiana’s state capital). We want to have something for everybody. Live Jazz, Country, Rock and also mellow music. We have a martini bar. We have pool tables, an arcade, front and back patios. It’s a Dave and Busters with three star restaurant flavor. Something different for the community so they don’t have to worry about all the other stuff life throws your way.
As far as being an entrepreneur, I can’t remember exactly when I wanted to do this but I think it was when I started my internship at Rolls Royce. Every single day I sat with the CFO. He’s an LSU alumni. He gave me so many tips and knowledge just speaking to me. I think about it now, the guy ran a 2 billion dollar company. To learn from a guy with that type of power inspired me to know I can do something similar.
I own a liquor store back in Baton Rouge called Green’s Purple and Gold. It’s right near LSU’s campus. I’m doing some other things besides that and the restaurant. I’m trying to do some parking lots, some condos home and up in Massachusetts. I’m stretching myself, but at the same time the journey has been fun and a great learning experience.
MT: What would you tell a player coming into the league to help him understand why he should get his business dealings in line early so he’ll have something to fall back on later in life?
JG: The biggest thing is watch out for those sharks man. There are some that want to invest your money with good intentions, but there are also those who are trying to take it. Your time in the league comes and goes real fast so players need to realize they have to save their money. Of course you are going to enjoy the money you make and have a good time, but as quick as you get it, you can lose it. I didn’t have this type of money growing up in the Rouge so I’m gonna make the best of it while I can.
MT: We have a perspective at The Starting Five geared towards shedding light on issues affecting Black athletes to help main stream America realize things are not going to be nullified–whether they like it or not. A small percentage of Black athletes are getting in trouble, but it seems like Black athletes are almost 100% percent of the stories every day. Do athletes themselves see it as a racial issue as much as it’s perceived to be?
JG: I think yes and no. You see what Michael Vick is going through. He’s not the only guy out there that’s doing that. He’s not the only Black guy doing that. His name is so big. Things happen in every other sport, but the NFL is under a huge microscope. Even players that don’t have a huge name are going to be publicized. Some guys are in the wrong place at the right time. It might sound kind of funny, but that’s the way it is. Guys know this and should expect it. You gotta keep your nose clean no matter what you do.
MT: Are guys around the league happy with how Commissioner Goodell is handling things or is he a little too rough on players?
JG: Hopefully I won’t have to meet up with him and talk about something that I did wrong. I personally think he’s just doing his job and putting his foot down. He’s trying to make the league better than what it is now. The NFL is just like any other business in there are risks involved. It’s good we know the rules, but obviously more important that we follow them.
MT: Do you have personal goals you set for the season, game by game or even play by play?
JG: No I don’t. I used to be but two years ago I said that my goal is to go out there, play hard and leave it all out there on the field. Whatever happens happens and it’s meant to be. We are doing things together here. It’s not one person celebrating out there by himself. Everybody is getting in the party. It’s very big for our team to look at things this way.
MT: What are you going to do as a team to get back to the Super Bowl?
JG: Our most important game is the next game. We need to focus on our goals and get better as a team.
To purchase this shirt benefiting Jarvis Green’s Foundation,
go to JarvisGreen.com
MT: What do you love most about football? When did you realize this is what you wanted to do?
JG: The biggest thing I love about football is the camaraderie. You just don’t have the closeness we have in other sports, as well as other occupations, that we have on and off the field. I tell you this because I know from experience. I’ve been to three different internships since I’ve been in the league and there’s a big difference just in and around the office. There’s also a humility that we have on this team that I’ve never seen.
My first memory of football is that I quit the first day of practice in the seventh grade. It was kind of strange because I had two older brothers that played football too. It was never like my family said play football, play football, play football. I played because my older brothers. I wanted to follow in their footsteps.
MT: My son was kind of down before the season because he expected to start at quarterback even though he’s in ninth grade. What would you tell him and more importantly, other kids across the country that have talent, but are uncertain about their ability? What advice would you give to someone coming through the ranks at your position regarding technique and also the weight room?
JG: When I started out in seventh grade, there were many guys on the team better than me–a lot better than me mentally and physically. When I got to high school I became a player in 10th grade. In ninth, my twin brother Jason and I played special teams. That was it, unless our team was blowing somebody out. I was happy to be there, but I kept pushing. You have to keep pushing hard because somebody will notice that. It really doesn’t matter about the playing time early on. If you want it, you’ll get it, but you have to put in the work. You have guys that are drafted after one year of college football. Everybody peaks at different times. You have to keep a sound work ethic and a consistent attitude.
If you have sound technique, then you have a base. Players should really focus on their technique because it gets you out of a lot of trouble.
For the weight room I would say that it’s part of our job. It’s our life. You have to be physically strong and be well conditioned. We are going to be lifting weights until the day we stop playing football. Get out there and get it done!
MT: Thanks Jarvis. Good luck this weekend.
JG: Thanks Mike, good luck to you as well.