Green saves the day

He bills himself as a father and a husband. Others call him a Hall of Fame cornerback. Now Darrell Green is something else: a Good Samaritan. And, thanks to his quick thinking and fast actions, Green also saved a woman from a dangerous situation.

In between events this past Saturday, Green was driving home to change clothes. He was coming from an event for cancer at Inova Fairfax Hospital. An hour later, he was scheduled to participate in a walk for cancer.

But, as he drove home on the innerloop of the Beltway, he spotted a car with a flat tire on the left side of the road near the Leesburg Pike exit. A woman talking on the phone stood a few feet in front of the car, resting inches from the concrete barrier. One eyewitness said the car was just after a blind curve in the road, compounding the problem.

Green didn't want to talk about what happened, not wanting to come across as a glory-seeker--he only told the woman his name was Darrell and isn't sure if she knew who he was. But he reluctantly agreed to talk.

''It was a bad situation, but I can't just pass her up. I went back there and I was like, 'Man, this is dangerous.' At first I was torn because I really needed to go.''

And, he said, had she been parked on the right side of the road he probably would have sped past. But because the woman, whose name Green forgot, was stuck on the left side, he wanted to help.

So Green did what he does best. He moved fast, pulling in front of the woman's car. Initially, he was going to try and back his car around her car and then behind, giving them a buffer from oncoming cars. It would also let drivers know a car was broken down ahead. But he opted to stay put, fearing what could happen if he tried to move.

Instead, he told her to move her car as close to the wall as possible, giving him a few more inches of safety in a space that wasn't wide to begin with. Then he went to work, changing the front right passenger tire as fast as he could.

''I jacked up the tire real quick and got it on there,'' said Green, who whipped off his suitcoat and grimaced his way through turning the lugnuts and jacking up the car, while staring at the oncoming traffic.

Though Green sounded nervous about the situation several days later, he would repeat his act. He just didn't want a big deal made of it.

''My wife used to get on me all the time about picking up hitchikers,'' Green said. ''But I was made a certain way and care about people. That's not to toot my own horn, but that's just the way I'm made. Maybe my mom put it in me. We were raised like that. You can't pass up a woman on the street.''

John Keim also covers the Redskins for The Journal Newspapers and is a correspondent for Pro Football Weekly.

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