Mike seeing Green

Mike Green has had to fight for everything he has in the NFL. The Bears rewarded the safety for his work on Friday with a five-year contract extension reportedly worth $10 million including a $2 million signing bonus.

"I put in a lot of hard work for this thing to come," Green said. "There is some peace of mind knowing that I have signed a long-term deal and that this is where I'm going to be. I don't have to worry now about what's going to happen to my future."

What will Green buy with his newfound wealth?

"I have nothing planned right now, but I know that the first thing I buy will be a house," Green said.

The "Mr. Irrelevant" of the 2000 draft isn't a top tier player, but GM Jerry Angelo believes Green is worth keeping around as his deal with runs through 2008.

In Green they believe they have a player with unfulfilled potential.

"We feel very good about getting mike green done," Angelo said. "Mike's a young player, he's 26 and we now have 5 years. We are very excited about that and I know that mike is as well. He's a very, very good player who keeps getting better and better."

The numbers don't particularly add up considering Green has one interception in three-plus years in the league.

"People on the outside have no idea of all of the things he brings to the table as far as ability, making plays and being dependable," said defensive coordinator Greg Blache. "He makes tackles and all sorts of other things. He's definitely not a one-dimensional player for us. I know for a fact that Mike is not appreciated for all of the things that he brings to the table."

The 26-year old Green led the Bears defensive backfield in tackles in 2002 with a career-high 138 tackles in his first full season as a starter and also contributed 15 special teams stops which ranked third. During the 2001 season, Green was the team's leading tackler among non-starters with 68 and ranked second on the squad with a career-high 25 special teams stops.

While Green has been the Bears second leading tackler, behind Brian Urlacher, over the past two seasons that isn't always a good statistic for a safety to have on his resume.

"I hope that I've shed the label of being Tony Parrish's replacement," Green said. "My thing has always been to go out there and play my own game."

Green took over a starting role when Angelo decided to let Tony Parrish go via free agency. At 195 pounds, Green isn't the intimidator that Parrish was and by no means is a ball hawk with just one career pick.

The timing of the extension is also odd. Granted Green would have been an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, but Bobby Gray seems to be coming on of late.

One thing Green has in his favor is his versatility. Before assuming a starting role in 2002, he spent time as the nickel back on the 2001 club that went 13-3.

"Michael can run, he can play inside or out," said Coach Dick Jauron. "He's played on slot wide receivers and has done an outstanding job and is just getting better. Size wise he's a little bit smaller but he's every bit as tough. I'm willing to bet that we could go into our film catalog and find a lot of hits that Michael Green has put on people."

A groin injury will likely keep Green off the field for a second straight week.

"I should be ready next week to go back out there," Green said. "Being on the sidelines is hard enough and being on t he sidelines when you've just been signed like this is even harder. You want to get out there and turn the season around."

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