Will he or won't he?

Darrell Green said once more that he's not re-thinking his decision. He just hasn't said it with enough conviction to make people completely believe that he won't return next season. But is there another motive in leaving himself some wiggle room?

Here's one: Green hasn't received the amount of publicity over his retirement that he expected. One reason is Sept. 11--the Redskins intended to place boxes for donations inside FedEx Field. After the 11th, they shifted gears and set up boxes to donate to the Pentagon victims. But Green also hasn't been the national story that he had hoped. His retirement representatives figured they would raise $10 million this year for his foundation. They won't come close. Green simply hasn't been the national story he thought he would be. Nor is he even requested as the Wednesday conference call with out of town media. Green is beloved by Redskins fans, but this is not like when Cal Ripken retired from baseball. These last couple of weeks, and the past few days in particular, have generated renewed interest in Green. That's not to say his only motive in this is to get publicity. But make no mistake, Green is shrewd and cares deeply about his foundation. Hey, there's nothing wrong with that. And it might be possible that he'll return. He's overwhelmed by the reaction in public. And he's playing well--though his ability was never an issue, at least not in his mind. Green also knows his foundation might receive stronger support next season, without the Sept. 11th rightly funds taking away attention. Another thing: Redskins coach Marty Schottenheimer is not pushing Green out the door. Schottenheimer was put on the spot by the Washington Post about Green's future. Of course he'd say he wants him back. Schottenheimer already looks like a bad guy in this mess--wrongly, we might add. But even in private Schottenheimer wouldn't mind Green returning. Just like he could let him walk away, too. There's one more guy who wants him back: owner Daniel Snyder. Not to mention corner Fred Smoot, who is sincere when he talks about how much he's learned from Green. Meanwhile, Schottenheimer admitted he could have treated Green differently during the summer by making some coaching points more in private. But it's likely that this did not make Green retire. Rather, it probably sealed the decision. After all, sources very close to Green said last year that he intended to retire after the 2001 season. In many ways it would be nice to have Green return. He's still fun to watch and he's enjoyable to talk to. As he's always been. We really don't know if Green will come back. But chances are, Green doesn't really know either. John Keim has covered the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers for the past eight seasons.

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