By Kenneth Barilari

Tim Green, former American football player, radio and television personality, and best-selling author, has just released a brand new novel, Left Out. #HipNJ spoke with the author to learn more.

Left Out tells a heartfelt and moving story about a deaf boy’s journey to change how others see him both on and off the football field.

Green, former linebacker and defensive end with the Atlanta Falcons, has aspired to be an author since he was in the third grade. “I really became a veracious reader and loved books,” he said. “I dreamed of writing them one day.”

He got the inspiration for Left Out a couple of years ago while on a book tour. He met two boys who were fans of his books, one from Kentucky and one from Arkansas. Both of these boys were football players, and they were both deaf with cochlear implants. Green got their contact information and reached out to the boys and their parents. “One day I want to write a book about a boy who has had the experiences that you have had,” he told them.

He then spoke to the boys extensively via Skype, trying to capture the essence of their lives, struggles, and triumphs. “So many kids strive to create an identity in sports, and they strive for excellence. There are obstacles for all of us. I just thought everyone would be inspired by someone who has an extra set of obstacles,” the author states.

He says that the majority of schools he visits will have at least one student who is deaf with cochlear implants. “It is important for other students to realize how those kids are sometimes marginalized, not only by children but also by adults.”

“Most people innately are afraid and suspicious of someone who is different, and what reading does is it allows us to understand other people’s realities and to have compassion,” he said. “We are all the same on the inside and that’s what’s important.”

Green said that his NFL background has had an influence on the story. His middle grade novels are set in the world of sports. “In the football books, I really rely on the experiences that I have had at the highest level of sports.” Furthermore, his experience can bring a credibility to the characters that is appealing to young readers who might not be all that interested in books. “Knowing I walked in those shoes and lived those experiences brings a kind of credibility to the sports on and off the field.”

When asked what he hopes readers take away from Left Out, Green states two objectives. “My first objective as a writer is to entertain the reader. That’s my number one goal,” he said. That’s why he writes short, action-packed chapters often ending with a cliffhanger. Next, Green hopes to inspire the reader. “The most gratifying part about writing is sharing life lessons with the reader.” He hopes the reader leaves with a better understanding of perseverance, teamwork, self-improvement, and forgiveness.


Author, Ex-NFL player discusses the power of reading

PORT CLINTON- Tim Green has written 34 books, with a 35th planned for release in March 2017.

He first made his name on the football field, but Green is now known more for his penchant for words and skill in promoting literacy to students across the country.

The former NFL football player visited Port Clinton Monday night, where he spoke about his doggedness in the face of initial rejection by publishing houses and the importance of reading for children.

“Books for me, when I was young, were magic,” Green told the audience of about 50 people at the Port Clinton Performing Arts Center.

The Friends of Ida Rupp Public Library hosted the former NFL player and bestselling author at their Second Community Read.

Green said he was equally passionate about football and books as a child, with a dream of becoming a writer.

A New York Times bestselling author, Green was an eight-year NFL defensive starter with the Atlanta Falcons, a TV personality, and an attorney.

The NFL retiree called reading “weightlifting for your brain,” at the start of his presentation Monday. Since he began writing books for kids in 2007, Green has sold over a million copies and made more than 1,000 school visits, speaking to nearly a half million kids across the United States.

He said his latest book, “Left Out,” will be released in two weeks. Green said retired New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter approached him earlier this year about co-authoring a book about baseball.

“He was wonderful. What a wonderful person,” Green said of Jeter.

Green said everything he’s been able to do with his life came more from hard work than talent. He stressed the need for kids to invest in their education and intellect as they follow their dreams.

After his NFL career ended, Green said he poured himself into his writing and took five years to write his first novel. He estimated he was rejected by 70 publishing houses, but didn’t stop until he finally broke through and got published.

Green acknowledged some people have written him off as a writer, but he said he had made himself better through diligence and hard work.

For kids, reading makes them smarter, better in school, kinder and more tolerant of others, Green said.

Mario Guerra brought his grandson, Alayis, to see Green speak Monday.

Both held copies of books written by Green and posed for photos with the author before his presentation.

Guerra said his grandson was interested in football and picked up some of Green’s books at the library.

“I think this is a good experience for him. Being that he (Green) was sports, this will be a good influence for him,” Guerra said.

Daniel Carson, Reporter




Beyond the Game: Former NFL player pens book about local student overcoming obstacles

Former NFL player Tim Green, now a bestselling author, has a new book that might resonate with students at a Central Arkansas school.

“When I met Brett, I thought, what a courageous story,” Green said.

A few years ago, he spoke at Central Arkansas Christian. There, he met Brett Bell, an eighth grader who was diagnosed deaf at birth. His disability doesn’t prevent him from playing basketball and baseball for the Mustangs.

“Obviously he has some incredible challenges that he’s worked hard to overcome and I just thought, what an inspirational story that could be, if I could have a character like that.”

In Left Out, which will be released Tuesday, September 27, a boy with cochlear implants dreams of playing football. Bell’s name is used for the boy who helps him do so.

“We really wanted to come up with a book that showed some of the things in Brett’s daily life [that] he goes through,” said Kristi Bell, Brett’s mom.

“It’s incredible. I held the book in my hand last night.”

Brett’s name isn’t the only one with special meaning on Mustang Mountain. Megan Nickell, a CAC student who died in 2015, also has a character that shares her name.

Green wouldn’t give away the ending, but added this: “Like the Brett Bell story in real life, the story in Left Out is an inspirational one.

Kristi hopes the book teaches valuable lessons to everyone that takes the time to read it.

“All people are the same on the inside,” she said.

By Kyle Deckelbaum

Whatever happened to: Ex-Falcon Tim Green

By I.J. Rosenberg – For the AJC

Tim Green has done it all. He graduated summa cum laude from Syracuse University, has a law degree, is a best-selling author and has been a commentator for NFL football games on Fox.

Oh, and he also played a little football for the Atlanta Falcons.

A first-round choice (17th overall) in the 1986 NFL draft, Green played during one of the franchise’s toughest periods, an eight-year stretch where the Falcons won only 45 games (six double-digit-loss seasons) and made just one playoff appearance.

But always a fan favorite, the good looking kid from Liverpool, N.Y., Green was one of the club’s better players, a hard-working linebacker/defensive end who dropped more than a few quarterbacks on their back.

Green began playing at the age of 8, then going on to Liverpool High School as an offensive lineman. He switched to defense his sophomore year when his team won sectionals and he was named defensive MVP. The colleges came calling — Notre Dame, Penn State, Georgia — but he chose Syracuse, the school that told him he could play right away.

Green was a member of a Syracuse 1982 freshman class that began a resurgence of Orange football under coach Dick MacPherson. He did play right away but his freshman year, the team went 2-9. They upset Top 20-ranked Boston College and West Virginia to end his sophomore season at 6-5. Then the following year, Green and Syracuse pulled off one of the biggest upsets in history, beating No. 1 Nebraska 17-9 at the Carrier Dome and again finishing 6-5. In his senior season, Syracuse went 7-5 and played in its first bowl game (Cherry Bowl) in six years.

Meanwhile, Green was also killing it in the classroom, graduating at the top of his class (co-valedictorian) only a month after being taken by the Falcons in the draft.

Then it all got tough.

In 1986, Green played only in nine games as a rookie because of injuries while the Falcons finished 7-8-1. The following season the bottom fell out, the team going 3-13 under Marion Campbell and winning just 16 games over a four-year period.

Green, however, became one of the team’s better players, collecting five sacks in both the 1989 and ’91 seasons and a career-high six sacks in 1990. In ’91 under head coach Jerry Glanville, the Falcons went 10-6 and beat the New Orleans Saints (27-20) in a wild-card game before losing to Washington (24-7) in the divisional round.

All along, Green kept writing and, as the 1993 season approached, he was close to finishing his first novel. He also had begun law school at Syracuse during the offseason in 1987. Because of several knee injuries, the fact that he was about to graduate law school and that he felt good about being an author, Green retired after the 1993 season. Quickly, he was offered a commentator’s job by Fox.

He began his television and law career the next year and would stay with Fox for 10 years, while also doing a short stint as a host on “Current Affair.’’ He wrote 14 suspense novels before turning to nonfiction and also writing books for children. With 29 books published, he was named the winner of the 2011 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award, “given annually to six former NCAA student-athletes for distinguished career accomplishment on the 25th year of their college graduation.’’

Where he lives: He has been married to Illyssa for 27 years and they live in upstate New York on the Finger Lakes in Skaneateles. They have five children: Thane, Tessa, Troy, Tate and Ty.

What he does: Now 52, Green continues to write full time and is also part of two law firms, one that deals with energy, intellectual properties and reassurance and another one comprised of former district attorneys that offer criminal defense services.

On going to Syracuse: “I was recruited by about everyone. But I didn’t like the fact that I didn’t play a lot as a freshman in high school and didn’t want to go through that again and Syracuse told me I could play right away and I did.’’

On the reemergence of Orange football during his era: “I was glad to be a part of it. The big game was the one we beat Nebraska in where we were like a 48-point underdog. I had 10 tackles and a couple of sacks and was named the Sports Illustrated player of the week. I felt then I had a great chance of playing in the NFL. Then we went to the bowl game my senior year and from there Syracuse started getting players like Donavan McNabb.’’

On being drafted by the Falcons: “I was thrilled to be a first-round pick and excited about going to Atlanta because I had been in upstate New York all my life. But my agent told me, ‘That’s too bad.’’’

On his Falcons career: “For me, it was two very different experiences: the first four years and the second four years. The first four years were very difficult and nine days into my rookie camp, I tore my calf muscle. The first four years there wasn’t much of an expectation. That changed the second four. When Deion (Sanders) was drafted (1989), it was very exciting. I am grateful I had those years. You have to remember, for every 16-0 team there is an 0-16 team, for every team that gets a win, there is a team that loses.’’

On his decision to retire in 1993: “I think I probably could have hung in there for four more years but there were four major things: First, I didn’t have any more medial meniscus in my right knee from two operations. Second, there was the publication of my first novel which led to a three-book contract. Third, I had graduated from law school and fourth, Fox had offered me a contract. There is never a good time to leave but I was extremely fortunate to have those other things. I look at it like the story of the guy up to his neck in the river and a boat comes by and says to get in. He says, ‘God has got me.’ Then a canoe comes by and the guy says the same thing. Then a helicopter comes by and he says the same thing. Well, he drowns and gets to heaven and sees God and asks him what happened. God tells him, ‘You dummy, I sent you two boats and a helicopter.’ Lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice and I was on the decline.’’

On his connection with the Falcons: “It is really because of Arthur (Blank). He has been very generous to me and my family on a personal level. He also has been a huge proponent on what I am doing with reading. I am very grateful to him and I didn’t even play for him.’’

Family Reading Night gets special speaker

‘Get in the Game’ with Hamburg School District’s upcoming Family Reading Night, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, April 8.

The Hamburg Middle School tradition started in 2005, and more recently expanded to include the entire district, will be full of fun activities for kids of every age, and their families as well.

Librarians from every school in the district and community worked together to make an enjoyable event, starting off with guest speaker Tim Green.

Megan Moelbert, Hamburg Middle School libararian and founder of Family Reading Night, was very excited when she learned they landed Green as their guest speaker: “He’s an author, he’s out of Syracuse, he was an Atlanta Falcon, he’s a lawyer, he’s a writer, he’s a coach, he’s a dad and a husband, and he’s amazing…I’ve heard him before, he’s very inspirational and the kids just love him.”

Green will speak to the Hamburg community in the middle school auditorium for 45 minutes, signing books and being central to the event’s big prize for whoever wins the locker decorating contest, where students got to fashion their locker after the spine of their favorite book.

“Prizes will be books by Tim Green…he offered to do a ‘back-stage pass’ kind of thing, he said he’d come early and sit with anybody, any kid, and do a Q & A with them, photo shots with him, we can cord off the front row of the auditorium, they can be the first in line for his autograph…so we got a few awesome prize options, thanks to him,” said Moelbert.

The second part of the night will be a series of mini-activities for everyone to participate in, going on in many classrooms on the second floor of the middle school.

There will of course be the annual book swap, where kids can bring in a used book and trade it in for something else, or 50 cents for a book of their choice. Proceeds will benefit the Museum of disABILITY History, which has a connection to author Stephen Nawotniak, who will be presenting on his children’s book “Mubu the Morph.”

A Robotics Maker Space, provided by the Hamburg Library, Computer Coding, a Poetry Slam and Media Scavenger Hunt will be among the many games and literacy-based activities to check out during the second part of the event.

“Choices for them that are literacy-based for the most part, fun, interactive, hands-on…we did try to have a few that are geared for elementary and a few that are geared for secondary but most are for everybody,” added Moelbert.

Guests will be entered in to win door prizes like passes to the Albright Knox and tickets to see the UB Bulls when they walk in; a lot of the prizes will be sports-based to fit in with the theme of ‘Get in the Game: Read,’ thanks to the event’s guest speaker.

For Moelbert, it’s all about getting the community out for a night of fun to benefit a good cause, and maybe inspiring some young minds too. “Connecting with literacy, connecting families, and then just having a community event. With this one, I think Tim Green is going to be a huge component of the awe and inspiration, and some kids will come out of here and…they’ll want to be him, they’ll want to be an NFL player or they’ll want to be a writer, or a lawyer,” she added.

The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided by Hamburg’s PTSA.

Matthew Ondesko, The Sun Reporter