When—not if—Ralph Green III signs his first NFL contract, the former Hoosier defensive tackle says he’ll donate half of his signing bonus to charity.
He doesn’t know which one yet but said he won’t be picky so long as it returns to his hometown of San Antonio.
“It ain’t about money with Big Ralph,” Green said after working out in front of scouts at IU’s Pro Day. “I never had it and I couldn’t care less. Money don’t make me happy. What makes me happy is putting on any jersey, going out there and battling. The game is bigger than myself. One thing I’ve learned under coach Tom Allen for the last year is ‘love each other.’ Love each other, man. That’s what we’re missing in this world. It’s not the woman, it’s the man. Love each other. That’s what it comes down to.”
After initially delaying his post-workout press conference so he could cheer on his teammates still working out in front of 30 NFL teams in Bloomington, Green touched on a wide-ranging set of topics in a seven minute and 30 second interview inside John Mellencamp Pavilion.
At the crux of it all, he man who also guys by “Big Ralph” and “Bonchewonche” told reporters that he’d be playing in the NFL next year. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound prospect who last season was named honorable mention All-Big Ten by the league’s coaches is a fringe draftee at best but could sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
If that’s the route he has to go, Green said he’ll do it. He just wants a chance to prove himself.
“I’m going to let everybody know once I get drafted, once I go undrafted—it don’t matter. I will make a 53-man roster,” Green said. “I will make the team. It’s all God’s plan…I’m a stand-up individual. I’m not going to be the way you want. I’m going to be the champ the way I want to be. Everybody knows who that is. Muhammad Ali. Fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee. I’m not gonna say the political correct thing. I’m gonna say what’s right, plain and simple. (NFL commissioner) Roger Goodell, whoever—they can fine me all they want.”
Green went on to say that there’s two people—the real people and the fake people—and that there’s a right way and a wrong way.
“Plain and simple,” Green said. “No matter your color, no matter your race, no matter where you’re from, no matter nothing…I’m just being real.”
Green told reporters that they could ask him any question and that he would tell no lies. In analyzing his own game, Green said he felt that he did “alright” while doing 15 repetitions on the bench press, 23 inches on the vertical leap, eight feet, five inches on the broad jump, 5.41 seconds on the 40-yard dash and 9.95 seconds on the three-cone drill.
“That’s the great words of Kevin Wilson, ‘I did okay,’” Green said. “Kevin Wilson’s words, ‘I gave it all I got.’”
Green spoke highly of Wilson, his former head coach who parted ways with the program after last season because of what Athletic Director Fred Glass said were “philosophical differences.” He also gave shoutouts to Glass, other IU athletes, defensive line coach Mark Hagen and current head coach Tom Allen.
He called all of them father figures and defended Wilson amid allegations of mishandling players’ injuries.
“Coach Hagen, Coach Wilson came down to my living room and kept their promise to my grandmother,” Green said.
Green went on to say that he never missed a practice or a workout. The only two games he missed were because he had pneumonia and was too ill to compete against Ohio State and Purdue on the road.
A couple of scouts have already contacted Green, who also competed in the East-West Shrine Game in January. He likes the feedback he’s gotten so far but joked that he wasn’t about to “kiss and tell.”
Unasked, Green also managed to bring up his 2015 arrest on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct. He said that the mistakes he made while being under the influence of alcohol were not representative of the person he was.
The battery and public intoxication charges were dropped after Green plead guilty to a disorderly conduct charge. He served 50 hours of community service and one year of probation but still has to live with his mugshot appearing near the top of search engine results because of his poor decisions.
“I was (a high school) class president, honor society (member), freshman-to-varsity football all four years, all-area three years, all-district,” Green began. “But then you go to Google. Go to Google, search my name. They ain’t gonna show you all that…What they gonna show you is a picture of me getting in trouble three years ago when I was being selfish and I decided to drink and all that. The truth is gonna stay the same, the lies are gonna change. They want to show you my mugshot. They don’t want to show you all the good things. That’s how Google do you.”
What’s next for Green remains unclear.
He might be able to slip into the NFL Draft late if he did enough to impress scouts but will always have the free agency option available. Regardless, it’ll be up to him to earn one of the unguaranteed roster spots on his own.
By the sounds of it, he’s up for the challenge.
“There was a great quote I used earlier,” Green said. “I won’t call it a quote. It’s in my DNA. ‘I ain’t going to be the champ the way you want me to be the champ. I’m going to be the champ the way I want to be.' That’s me.”
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