Each week of the season DenverBroncos.com will highlight the off-field contributions of a Denver Bronco. This week we talked to tight end Virgil Green, who spends his time working with the United Way in addition to being involved with the Broncos' community work. *
Why is it so important for you as an NFL player to give back to the community?
"I work a lot with kids, giving back to the kids, and it's great to see the smiles on their faces. A lot of times you don't know what they're going through at home or even in school, so to give back in that way and to give them a sense of peace for however long that may be is always great to do."
What have been some of your favorite Broncos community events to participate in?
"The Play 60 Hometown Huddle—the last one I was at—was pretty enjoyable. That game (organized by the Playworks staff), I had never seen that game played but we made it fun for the kids."
**Who was an NFL player who you looked up to for his community work and leadership?
The Denver Rescue Mission and Isaiah Burse distributed 2,000 Thanksgiving meals on Tuesday morning.
"There have been a lot of guys here—[S] David Bruton, [former Bronco/current Tennessee Titans LB] Wesley Woodyard, [former Bronco/current Jacksonville Jaguars G] Zane Beadles—those guys go above and beyond the call of duty. I think if a lot of guys took what they did and even did half of what they did, we could make a big impact."
How did you get involved in working with the United Way?
"My publicist asked me if it was something I would like to do. I had worked with the Boys & Girls Clubs every summer in college, so I had worked with kids quite a bit in my college years. I decided to jump all over it. It's been very humbling and a blessing in my life."
Your United Way work deals primarily with helping kids be successful in school, why is that important and did you have any people who stood out as helping you when you were in school?
"I always tell kids that yeah, I'm a football player but without school I don't get to where I'm at. You have to go to college. You have to attain a certain GPA. My parents, they were very stern with me and my brother. The rule was you had to have a 2.0 (GPA) from the school, but my parents told me 3.0—you had to have a 3.0 and they were not playing around with that—if you did not have a 3.0 you weren't playing. So my family was really tough on us growing up and I think that's helped me in my career."
**What are some of your favorite parts of being involved in working with the United Way?
Fifteen Broncos players, six cheerleaders and Miles the Mascot joined kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs for the sixth annual "Shop with a Bronco" on Tuesday.
"Just getting out of my box a little bit. I'm kind of a quiet, reserved guy and I don't typically show my feelings towards people that I don't really know. Just going with those kids—a lot of people don't know I can speak a little Spanish. I had to read a book in Spanish to the kids one time and I felt so embarrassed for a minute because I hadn't read any Spanish words in a while and I was sweating. But the kids all thought it was funny and then I thought it was funny and I stopped sweating. Just things like that where I can get to be a kid again and have a stress-free life for 30 minutes or an hour is cool."
You've also gotten involved with the Play 60 platform, what do you stress to kids when talking to them about staying active?
"To be physically fit—I'm proud of my body and where I've come from. I've learned a lot about health and how to be healthier. Growing up, I ate a lot of fast food growing up. I ate a lot of fast food in college. We didn't have all the information that he kids have available to them today. I drank a lot of soda growing up. So to have a Play 60 and Fuel Up to Play 60 type thing come and teach these kids how to do things outside, how to eat healthier and creative ways to do those things is something that is very beneficial. I wish I would have had it when I was younger."
Your wife, Marianne, played college basketball at Nevada, how does she help you stay active in the offseason?
"Absolutely. We play basketball a lot in the offseason. We go play a little game of horse and she beats me. Me and [TE] Julius [Thomas] go to 24 Hour Fitness and hoop, too. Sometimes I lead her through workouts there but she hates it because I'm a little too overbearing and I don't take no for an answer when it comes to working out. But she's a competitor just like I am, so our household is very peaceful because we understand each other and we know we're both competitors so we know not to egg each other on."