In 2007, when he joined Nevada’s football program, he continued to feel
discomfort in his knee and simply couldn’t take it anymore. The medical
staff checked it out, and they discovered that Green needed to get
micro-fracture knee surgery, which had the potential of being
career-ending, according to his doctor at the time, Jim Pappas.
Green’s parents, Sharon and Virgil, stood aghast at the thought of
their son never playing football again.
“I didn’t want to see my mom sad, so I tried to be strong for her and
let her know that I wasn’t upset or anything,” Green said.
The day of the surgery, emotions were running high in the Green family,
but their faith in God was so enormous that prayer became the only
source of comfort, and according to them, it worked.
“Right away me and my husband started praying and believing for his
healing,” Sharon said. “I didn’t care what the doctor said because I
know what my doctor upstairs can do, and he can do the impossible.”
The surgery was successful. Green took six months to rehabilitate and,
most importantly, fought hard to get back on the field. He went on to
have a successful three years as a starter at Nevada.
But the road to success wasn’t so simple. He says the very special
person who is now his wife was a major piece of the puzzle during these
Road to the NFL
Marianne Green played on Nevada’s women’s basketball team and met
Virgil two weeks before his surgery. Both cherished each others
company, and always had each others’ back, as if they were best
friends. They were married July 14, 2013 in Lake Tahoe.
“We met freshman year, so I feel very blessed as an NFL wife that I can
sit there and watch him on the field, and I know everything he’s been
through,” Marianne said.
Being student athletes took a great toll on their bodies and minds.
When things got tough, especially during his rehab time, Green would
use his faith to get him through any sort of obstacle.
“I was raised in a Christian household, but obviously when you get to
college, you have to make a decision,” Virgil Green said. “I decided
that my walk with Christ was an important walk. Playing football is
tough on your body, your mind, and I lean on my faith a lot to get me
through all the struggles.”
The next step was the NFL Combine, where he would show many GMs and
scouts how he overcame his knee injury and show his unique athleticism
for a tight end.
According to Green’s father, it was reported that Green never missed a
practice or a game due to injury while at Nevada. Green’s broad jump
and vertical leap numbers were the second-best combine numbers among
tight ends since 2000.
He had a vertical leap of 42.5 inches and a broad jump of 10 feet, 10
inches. He also posted the third-best 40-yard dash time (4.54 seconds)
among tight ends that ran and put up 23 reps on the bench press.
He was projected to go anywhere from the third to seventh-round in the
The family gathered for draft day at the Green household in Tulare,
California. As players’ names were called, discouragement and stress
ascended for Green and his family because they believed he deserved to
go higher in the draft.
Then with the 204th selection, the Denver Broncos chose Green, and the
celebration began. Jeremiah Green, his younger brother who played with
Virgil at Nevada during the winning 2010 season admires the
relentlessness and faith of his brother.
“God has been such a blessing for me and my family, especially my
brother going to a Super Bowl—from him getting injured and the doctor
telling him you’re not going to play anymore to now being a tight end
in the NFL,” Jeremiah said. “We just really try to thank God especially
in the media. We let everyone know that it’s not us; it’s God who has
taken us this far and taking us further.”
One of Green’s favorite Bible versus that describes his relationship
with his brother is Proverbs 27:17.
“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another,” Green said.
Green’s admirable personality and discipline is a major reason for his
successful career thus far.
“He leaves me in awe, leaves me speechless because of everything that
he does,” Marianne said. “He is very disciplined, he knows what’s right
— having a character like that is definitely amazing to watch, see and
especially have as a husband. Definitely a blessing.”
Super Bowl Experience
During this year's Super Bowl, the only thing Green could think about
was the game.
He woke up, began to study the playbook, then relaxed and listened to
music because he didn’t want to mess up.
“I played my heart out when I had an opportunity,” Green said. “I
studied, I knew what my assignments were going into the game, and
Seattle was obviously the better team that day. You have to tip your
hat to them, and I’m excited to play them again next year.”
Green and teammate Brandon Marshall became the ninth and 10th Wolf Pack
alums to play in the Super Bowl. This should inspire any current Wolf
Pack player who aspires to play at the NFL level, but it will require
more than talent.
“At the tail end of my sophomore year, I made a decision that I would
give anything and everything it took to get to the National Football
League,” Green said. “You just have to put in that extra mile. Whenever
you think you should quit, just go some more because that’s the reason
why I got to where I am today—because I never took a day off.”
This toughness and determination is something Green’s father says makes
him very proud, but he’s not the only one. Hall-of-Fame coach Chris
Ault knew he had a great human being and football player when
recruiting Green. Ault molded Green to become tougher and strive for
“Coach Ault instilled a mindset of pure toughness at Nevada,” Green
said. “I’ve always said, anybody who can go five years at Nevada is a
tough dude, because coach Ault makes sure you become a man when you
leave that program.”
Leo Beas can be reached on Twitter