Green Is Renaissance Man of Sports

Tim Green may be the most multifaceted person in sports broadcasting since Pat Haden.

Green, one of Fox's new football commentators--he's working Sunday's Ram-Kansas City Chief game--also was or is:

--An All-American at Syracuse, and conference MVP in 1985.

--An eight-year NFL veteran who played linebacker and defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons. He started 69 consecutive games, a streak stopped by a broken elbow in 1992, and had 100 or more tackles for three consecutive seasons, 1989-91.

--A Football Foundation Hall of Fame scholar.

--NCAA Top-Six scholar.

--Academic All-American.

--Phi Beta Kappa.

--Rhodes Scholar nominee.

--Co-valedictorian of Syracuse's class of 1986.

--Recent Syracuse law school graduate, with honors.

--A once-a-week sports columnist for the Syracuse Herald-Journal.

--A sports commentator for National Public Radio.

--A novelist who has written two books and is working on a third.

--A husband and father of three.

No, we're not making this up. There is such a person.

"One is considered fortunate to be blessed with either brains or brawn; Tim Green has been blessed with both," understates NBC's Bob Costas, another Syracuse graduate.

So what's the deal? Is Green an egomaniac or what?

Hardly. During a 45-minute phone conversation, Green, 30, was pleasant, humble, and easy to talk to.

Still, you'd figure this guy must be really driven.

"I don't think driven is the word," he said. "Someone asked me the other day if I felt I had to be the best at everything.

"I really don't. I want to do everything passionately. Whatever I'm doing I want to feel it, whether I'm playing football, announcing or writing.

"I'm also passionate about things like playing with my kids (Thane, 4; Tessa, 3, and Troy, 5 months), or taking my wife out to dinner. I treat it as if it is a date. I make it a special evening."

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Add Green: He said he became interested in football and writing at about the same time, when he was about 8 years old.

"When I wasn't dreaming about someday playing professional football I was dreaming about becoming a famous novelist," he said.

"As a kid (in the Syracuse suburb of Liverpool), I was your typical bookworm. Fortunately, I was also big and good in sports. Otherwise, I'm sure I would have been picked on."

It took Green four years to write his first published book, "Ruffians," which was called "chilling and fascinating" by The Times, and "a cross between 'North Dallas Forty' and 'The Firm' " by USA Today.

It took him two years to write his second, the just-released "Titans," the story of a pro football quarterback who gets involved with the mob.

And he is about 70 pages into his third, "Outlaws," which he hopes to finish in a year.

What does he consider himself first, a former football player, a novelist or an announcer?

"It's whatever I'm doing at the moment," he said. "Although what is really No. 1 with me is being a father and a husband. My family is what's most important to me."

Green said the Fox job came about because of his friendship with Ed Goren, the network's executive producer of sports. He said he met Goren through Stu Lisson, the head of the video communications department at Syracuse, about four years ago and Goren called him this spring to offer him a job.

"If things hadn't worked out with Fox, I would have returned to football," Green said.

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Complaint department: ABC is giving Southern California and 12% of the country a prospective blowout, Arizona at Stanford, on Saturday, while 48.6% of the nation gets Colorado at Michigan. Washington at Miami is going to 36% of the country.

At least cable subscribers whose companies offer the college football pay-per-view package can get get one or both of those games.

But there is more bad news. ABC last week picked up Alcorn State's game against Sam Houston State as one its regional telecasts, obviously because of Alcorn's Steve (Air) McNair. However, the game was added to the schedule too late to offer it as a pay-per-view option.

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Recommended viewing: In one of the more revealing interviews Roy Firestone has done, former Denver Bronco receiver Vance Johnson unloads on "Up Close" on ESPN tonight at 9:30 p.m. Johnson talks about his abusive nature, his efforts to change and his suicide attempt several years ago. He tells Firestone he was starting to slit his wrists when the phone rang. Fortunately, it was his therapist.

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Add recommended viewing: "Arthur Ashe: Citizen of the World," an outstanding one-hour tribute written by Frank Deford and narrated by Ossie Davis, will be on HBO seven times, beginning Tuesday at 10 p.m. Among those interviewed are South African President Nelson Mandela.

TV-Radio Notes

Tim Green's play-by-play partner is Joe Buck, the 25-year-old son of Jack Buck. Joe Buck became an announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals four years ago, at the age of 21. . . . Because the Raiders didn't sell out in time to lift the television blackout, the NFL game on NBC Sunday at 1 p.m. is New England at Detroit. Los Angeles doesn't get Fox's second game, New Orleans at San Francisco, because the Raiders are home.

Howie Long names his "tough guy" team on Fox's pregame show Sunday. A sneak preview: Ronnie Lott, Marcus Allen and Seth Joyner are included. Also on the show, Terry Bradshaw interviews Neil Smith and Derrick Thomas of the Chiefs, and Lonnie Lardner profiles Chicago safety Shaun Gayle, an author of children's books.

The field for the Nov. 26-27 Skins Game at Bighorn Golf Club in Palm Desert, to be carried by ABC, was set Thursday. It will be Paul Azinger, Fred Couples, Tom Watson and three-time winner Payne Stewart. . . . The Julio Cesar Chavez-Meldrick Taylor fight, plus highlights from last Saturday's undercard, will be replayed Saturday on Showtime at 1:35 p.m. . . . HBO offers a heavyweight title fight, Lennox Lewis vs. Oliver McCall, from London on Saturday at 8 p.m. It's live in the East, delayed three hours in the West.

CBS will open its boxing series on Oct. 8 with cruiserweights Kenny Keene and Terry Ray fighting at a site to be determined. Oscar De La Hoya was to have fought John Avila on that date at the Grand Olympic, but De La Hoya had to bow out. De La Hoya and Avila will now fight Dec. 10 on CBS. . . . CBS announced Thursday that it will televise a series of six figure-skating competitions, beginning Thanksgiving Day.

ABC's Keith Jackson has been selected by the American Sports Assn. as its 1994 Hall of Fame inductee. . . . UCLA and USC will both be on Prime Ticket on Saturday. The UCLA-Washington State game at 3:30 p.m. is the Prime Pacific 10 game of the week, with Phil Stone and Rodney Gilmore calling the action and Paul Sunderland reporting from the sideline. Tom Kelly and Craig Fertig call the USC-Baylor game at 7 p.m.

A power outage in San Diego on Thursday caused XTRA to fill about an hour and a half with programming from the Las Vegas-based American Sports Radio Network. . . . A "Best of Talk2" special on ESPN2 Sunday at 7:30 p.m. with Jim Rome features interviews with Chris Webber, Bobby Bonilla, recently retired Miami linebacker John Offerdahl and Jerry McMorris, the owner of the Colorado Rockies. . . . ESPN2 can now be seen in 41% of Los Angeles cable households (or about 1.2 million), making Los Angeles one of the top markets for the network that will be a year old on Oct. 1.

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