Tion Green speaks fast, like a man who wants to overcome obstacles and make up ground in a hurry.
Green is not daunted about the prospect of having to do both this year as an undrafted free agent trying to win a roster spot with the Detroit Lions.
Green is taking advice from wherever he can get it – and he says he has gotten plenty from teammates who pass along what they have learned from their experience in the NFL.Don Muhlbach, who’s going into his 14th season as a Lion, has passed along tips on how Green can take advantage of his opportunity.
“’Mules … he actually told me to sound confident in what I do,’” said Green, urgency and enthusiasm bubbling in his voice after an OTA practice this week. “He said, ‘Smile, rookie. Enjoy yourself. It’s fun.’
“Once he told me that, it felt good to hear that. I just smile. OK. I’m going to act confident. At least if I don’t know what I’m going to do, I’m going to act like I know what I’m doing. I’m going to make a mistake at full speed.”
Green, 23, was a five-year player and two-year starter at the University of Cincinnati. The Lions signed him after the draft to add depth and competition at running back.
Green finished his career with the Bearcats with two productive seasons. He rushed for 1,472 yards, with an average of 4.75 yards, in 2015-16 combined.
Green, who is an even 6 feet and 220 pounds, is competing for a job at a position that appears set from last year. Five running backs are returning – Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner, Dwayne Washington and Mike James – along with fullback Michael Burton.
The fact that the Lions did not draft a running back this year would indicate that the front office and coaching staff are happy with who they have at the position, assuming there are no injuries.
Competing for a job is serious business, but Green is having fun.
“Absolutely – it’s football,” Green said. “If you’re not passionate about it, you’re not going to be here. It’s such a business at this level.
“It’s not a depth chart. It’s a rep chart. I’m a UDFA (undrafted free agent). I know every opportunity I get, I can’t squander it. I’ve got to take advantage of every single opportunity I get.”