Green brings experience, baggage to Buffalo

Posted on March 10, 2010 by Patrick Moran

Cornell GreenTo the surprise of roughly no one, the first thing the Buffalo Bills did organizationally when free agency started was set out to upgrade their offensive line. The philosophy was astute as the Bills offensive line was anemic in 2009 and did themselves no favors with the rash of injuries the unit suffered.

Wade Smith was brought in on day two and although the team reported positive conversations the former Chief left the team last Saturday without a deal and has since visited Houston. He’s also reported to be headed to Arizona for a visit out west on Tuesday.

The Bills then quickly struck on Monday to land Oakland Raiders tackle Cornell Green. The team met with him in the morning and by the afternoon signed him to a three-year deal worth a reported $9 million.

The 12-year veteran said on a conference call Monday night that he had the chance to visit other teams, but the Bills presented him with the best opportunity.

“I had an opportunity to visit a couple of other teams, but Buffalo made me feel real comfortable,” Green said during the conference call. “Everything was first class here. I feel comfortable coming here. I feel comfortable moving my family here. I’m glad to have an opportunity to play over here.”

Green is expected to start at right tackle in 2010 in place of Brad Butler, who unexpectedly retired last month.  Buffalo is still expected to take a left tackle early in the NFL draft, perhaps with the ninth overall pick.

The team hopes that for at least the short term they’ve filled the right tackle void with Green.  He thinks his experience and intangibles will help solidify the position and mold his younger teammates into a more cohesive unit.

“I’ve been in the league for 10 years now and one thing the guys encouraged me on about here is the leadership that I do have,” Green told reporter Chris Brown in a published interview Monday.  “I bring a lot of leadership to the team, a lot of experience at the same time just ready to be a part of the offensive line and get this Bills organization to where it used to be.”

Green comes to the Bills with size (6’6”, 315 pounds) matched only by question marks.  His play on the field has come into question and over the past year, so has his judgment off it.

In March of 2009 he was arrested and charged with domestic violence in Florida. Tampa police said Green became violent during an argument at his home there with the mother of his two children. Police said Green slammed 30-year-old Teriyonal Ebony Flowers into a wall, and then struck her right arm with an aluminum mop handle.

The police said he then fled the house and was later arrested at Tampa International Airport before a flight he had planned to take to Oakland.

Last May Green was given 12 months probation for the misdemeanor according to court records reported by the Buffalo News.

Green said during his media conference call that the incident was unfortunate and he’s moved past it.

“Last year the issue I went through was unfortunate,” Green said. “I learned and grew from that and I just moved past that. My girl and I are together now and we’re just looking forward to the future and being a part of the Buffalo Bills.”

While the off-field mess of 2009 was hopefully a onetime mistake, fans are generally more worried about the countless mistakes he made on it.  In 12 games as a starter last season Green committed 12 penalties, including seven false starts, something the Bills are all-too familiar with. He was also responsible for 6.5 sacks according to and struggles heavily in pass protection.

Raymond St. Martin covers the Raiders for the SB Nation Silver & Black. He warns Bills fans that they’re getting a guy as likely to make a drive-killing mistake as someone who pancakes a linebacker.

“Cornell Green is a penalty machine and the reaction from Raiders fans is they could not see him leave fast enough,” St. Martin said. “He was brought to Oakland at Tom Cable’s request and he never did anything to warrant the starting position that was handed to him for two years.”

Green moving on as a free agent was something St. Martin said the Raiders anticipated happening for months and made no real effort to bring him back.

“With the offensive line performing below expectations and the Raiders supposedly  having set their sights on Bruce Campbell in this year’s draft and having retained Khalif Barnes, it was expected that Cornell Green, the worst performer on a line that surrendered 49 sacks last season would not be back.”  St. Martin said.

“Green was brought in as a zone blocking specialist and he committed too many costly penalties at key points in the game to be effective.” I’ll take Langston Walker over Cornell Green any day of the week, especially on Sundays.”

Still, the Bills feel like they’re getting at least a minimal upgrade at the position.  Green is regarded as much better in the running game than when his team throws the ball.  New head coach Chan Gailey sounds like he’s much more committed to running the ball and that could play to Greens’ strengths.

There also weren’t a surplus of options.  The talent pool in unrestricted free agency is very weak and all of the quality restricted free agent tackles of quality carried a heavy compensation price.

Assuming the Bills address the left tackle spot, the addition of Green gives Demetrius Bell and Jamon Meredith more time to develop in the league.

Green said he’s excited to be in Buffalo and looks forward to working with his younger line mates.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get this opportunity to be a leader and be an example for other guys,” Green said. “Been a lot of places in my career.. Won a Super Bowl in Tampa so I bring some intangibles that a lot of guys don’t have right now because of the inexperience.”

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2 Comments on Green brings experience, baggage to Buffalo

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