July 1, 2011

Tidesports.com exclusive: Q&A with Robby Green

TUSCALOOSA | Former University of Alabama defensive back Robby Green was dismissed from the program recently, after NCAA and team suspensions prevented him from playing and practicing for more than a year. On Friday, Green spoke exclusively with Tidesports.com, nearly 18 months removed from his previous media interview, about the best and worst of his three years at the Capstone. Below is a transcript of the conversation in Q&A form.

Tidesports.com: What is next for you? Do you know where you might play football this fall?

Robby Green: "Now I'm just looking at some schools, some D-II schools. I don't know which one yet, but I'll work from there."

Tidesports.com: Would you want to play at a smaller school in Alabama or might you prefer to find a school in your home state of Louisiana?

Robby Green: "It can be all the way in North Dakota. Right now, it's just whatever is the best situation for myself and my family - that's where it is. I just want to do what's best for me and them."

Tidesports.com: How close are you to a degree?

Robby Green: "I was supposed to graduate from Alabama in December, so it's very close. It's right there. I'll go to a school for the next five months, take some classes that equal out to Alabama's classes, my credits at Alabama. To transfer back over and be able to graduate from Alabama and get a degree from Alabama - it would help me with my future."
Editor's note: Green is pursuing a degree in Health Administration.

Tidesports.com: What are your thoughts about the NCAA suspension that prevented you from playing in 2010, the team suspension that kept you out of spring practice this year, and your ultimate departure from the UA team?

Robby Green: "There was nothing unfair about what happened with me at The University of Alabama. Coach (Nick) Saban is a great coach and a great guy, and he's the only reason I went to Alabama. They gave me every opportunity. It was just a decision that had to be made. I learned a big lesson not to take anything for granted. I left a big university and now I'm going to a Division-II school. No disrespect to the Division-II school that I choose to go to, but it's a hard thing to accept. I've been a player at Alabama at a higher level, and it was a great feeling and I'll never forget that feeling or the coaches, or players I played with. Now I've just got to focus on a new start, a new beginning, and go from there."

Tidesports.com: Who were your closest relationships and some of the players you will miss most on the team?

Robby Green: "I was very close with a bunch of guys. Mark Ingram was my best friend. Dre Kirk (Kirkpatrick) was a best friend of mine, Damion Square, Mark Barron, they helped me throughout (my problems) at Alabama. Kareem Jackson is no longer there, but he was another guy. I was pretty much good with everyone on the team. They were all likeable guys. I don't think any of them said much of anything behind my back. You never know, but I don't think so. I was good with everybody, the coaches. I respected them, and they respected me."

Tidesports.com: Was the team supportive of you during your suspensions?

Robby Green: "Everybody was supportive - family, teammates, fans, coaches, everybody. It's a great program back there at Alabama. It's still Roll Tide for me. There aren't any bad feelings and I don't hold any grudges. I'm going to miss it a whole bunch. I think they'll win a national championship this year, in my city. I said it. You can quote it. They'll be in the Sugar Bowl and win the national championship."
Editor's note: The 2011 BCS national champion will be crowned in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Green's hometown.

Tidesports.com: If they really are playing for the national championship in the Sugar Bowl, will you be there?

Robby Green: "If I'm able to, yes. I'll be sitting there waiting for those guys when they get out of that game. If I'm able to be there, I'll be there."

Tidesports.com: You played in the dime defense (sixth defensive back) in passing situations for a national championship team at Alabama in 2009. What are your memories of that season, your best year at Alabama, and of beating Texas in the BCS title game?

Robby Green: "That was a hell of a year and a great experience. Something you dream about. In high school I won a state championship four times, so I had always been winning. But to win on that level, in California - that place, in Pasadena in the Rose Bowl. It was Alabama vs. Texas. It was very emotional and exciting for me. Coach Saban considered me as a starter on that team, which was an honor. I never felt like I was a starter - I felt like I was just helping. But he gave me a tremendous honor. To play with the guys on that particular team, and the leadership we had, I'll never forget that. Ever."

Tidesports.com: When you first learned that you would have to sit out the entire 2010 season on an NCAA suspension, what went through your mind?

Robby Green: "I was hurt. I was devastated. The first thing I thought about was my family. I knew I would get through it - I'm a strong-minded person. My thought was 'How to I move on? How to I make the best of this situation?' But thinking about my mom, my dad, my brother, that was where my initial pain was coming from on that drive all the way back to New Orleans. It was on Super Bowl Sunday, and the Saints happened to be in the Super Bowl. So my family was having a big old party during the Super Bowl. And I had to come home during the party and tell them I was suspended for the whole year the next year. I had just come off a great year winning the national championship. It was very painful. I wish that I knew then what I know now. I'm glad this happened to me now. I'm 21 years old. I could have faced this further down the road and not known how to handle it. I'm glad I've got to handle it now - I've got a strong support system that starts with my family. I've got friends and teammates and coaches that never gave up on me. But that day, with them being die-hard Saints fans - that wasn't too good of a day."

Tidesports.com: There were many rumors, including steroids, about the reasons for your suspension. Are there any untrue rumors about it that you want to clear up?

Robby Green: "Well, it wasn't steroids. But I'm going to let any other rumors stay out there. That's not for me to discuss - I was asked not to discuss that. It's going to come out when it comes out, if it's supposed to come out, and how it's supposed to come out. Coach Saban and I and coaches we know the real reason, and that's all who needs to know right now. But I'd like to say it was a good ride at Alabama, I loved being there and all the fans. I don't want anyone to be mad at me or the school, or judge me. I don't want people to think I have a bad taste in my mouth because I'm not going to be able to play for Alabama anymore. This was the best decision. Roll Tide."

Tidesports.com: Speaking of people from New Orleans, UA assistant coach Burton Burns recruited you. How has your relationship with him changed if at all?

Robby Green: "Coach Burns was the second reason I came to Alabama. I'm good with his sons, daughters, his wife, they took me in like a part of their own. He called me recently and told me he's still in my corner, still on my side, no matter what the situation. I love him like another father."

Tidesports.com: What would your message to Alabama fans be?

Robby Green: "That I'm not a bad guy, I'm just a guy who has made some bad decisions in my life. How you come into being a man is how you get over those trials and tribulations. Put it out there - Roll Tide - and I can't wait until they come to my city. I know they're going to be there."

Reach Chase Goodbread at chase.goodbread@tuscaloosanews.com or at 205-722-0196.


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