When Scott Ferrall heard that former NFL head coach Dennis Green passed away last Thursday, he couldn’t believe it. Neither could Mike Morris, who played for Green in Minnesota from 1992 to 1999.
“It was shocking,” Morris said on CBS Sports Radio’s Ferrall on the Bench. “I guess it shouldn’t be because he was never in really good shape. He was getting up there in age.”
Green, who was 67, died from complications of cardiac arrest.
“I don’t know very many people over the age of 60 that weigh probably close to 300 pounds,” Morris said. “I would say that he was right at that number. I guess it shouldn’t be a surprise, but he just seemed like the kind of guy that was just always going to be around and always going to be coaching some kind of football at some level somewhere. But you don’t know when your ticket is going to be punched.”
Green led the Vikings to eight playoff appearances from 1992 to 2001, reaching the NFC Championship Game in 1998 and 2000. He ranks second in Vikings history in games, wins and winning percentage, trailing only Hall of Famer Bud Grant in each category.
Green had multiple head-coaching stops in the NFL and in college and was a receivers coach in San Francisco when the 49ers beat the Bengals in Super Bowl XXIII.
“The guy was a good football coach,” said Morris, a former long snapper. “He understood the talent and more likely than not would always keep the right kids on the football team when it came time for last cuts. He always had a knack for keeping the right people, and they usually developed those kids and they stuck around for three or four or five years and played within his system the way he wanted things to be. I thought he was good. I thought he was a good football coach. I had issues with him. I think a lot of people had issues with him from time to time. We butted heads a few times, but that’s the way it goes sometimes in football. That doesn’t mean you can’t still play for a guy – and I did for eight years. But (his death) was shocking.”