In a couple of months hundreds of NFL prospects will attend tryouts where they will be measured, timed, interviewed and taken through some of the most physically and mentally challenging drills of their lives. The media attention, the competition and the high stakes often prove too much for some, but somehow, there is a quiet sense of confidence that let’s you know that Greenville’s primary representative will handle the spotlight just fine.
“It’s always been one of my biggest dreams to play in the NFL,” said former Mississippi State defensive lineman and 2014 Greenville-Weston graduate Gerri Green. “I really don’t have a preference where I want to go. I just want to be in a position to play in the league and contribute to whatever team decides to pick me up.”
Gerri’s humility and business-like approach to the big stage of pro football can be traced back to his upbringing. His football talents were recognized by coaches and fans alike when he was a youngster. His mother, Valerie knew that an education was something that took precedence over anything that took place on the gridiron. “My mom has always been my biggest fan,” he said. “But she always stressed the importance of me becoming a student athlete. Education was not to be taken for granted and there was no practicing or playing in games unless my grades were kept up.”
When Valerie watches her son go through his respective NFL tryouts, she will also have a sense of pride knowing that her son will soon have a degree in agri-business in his hands that can take his very far as well.
Gerri’s career at Mississippi State has been filled with ups and downs from what he calls his, “best statistical/breakout game against Louisiana Tech during my junior year” to suffering a devastating knee injury that took several months to rehabilitate. “Playing in the SEC was a great experience where you play against the top talent week in and week out and form lasting friendships,” he reflected. “I’m glad that I made the decision to come to State because it helped me mature as a man. And as far as going through the rehab from injuries, I always try to keep my faith in God, slow down to think about what’s really important and find a positive in all of it.”
Gerri said that no one really knows how NFL tryouts will pan out and that every team seems to have a different need. He did say that he will probably have to make a transition from the defensive line to outside linebacker. Having a firm foundation, a solid upbringing and overcoming adversity has launched Green into a realm that he accepts with honor. “If people consider me a role model then I think that’s a blessing,” he said. “Anybody who is traveling this path behind me, I would tell them that anything is possible and to stay motivated through all of your experiences.”
Away from the football field, Gerri loves spending time with his daughter and listening to music.