January 31, 2014

Former Bulldogs QB will speak at Salem Baptist Church in Dalton

Former University of Georgia quarterback David Greene will forever be linked with particular moments in his Bulldogs career, during which he produced records galore and even more memories for the fans wearing red and black.

From the “Hobnail Boot” touchdown pass against Tennessee to his connection with Michael Johnson in the corner of the end zone at Auburn, Greene’s time in Athens accounted for 42 wins in four years with a Southeastern Conference title and a Sugar Bowl victory in 2002.

He was selected by the Seattle Seahawks in the third round of the 2005 NFL Draft and went on to spend parts of four seasons in the league, most of them as a practice squad player. But while with the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, he got an up-close look at future Hall of Fame quarterbacks Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Now a commercial insurance salesman for Seacrest Partners in Atlanta — he lives in Gwinnett County, where he grew up — Greene is still involved in sports. He’s a contributor for Atlanta’s 92.9 The Game sports talk radio station and does television work with ESPN.

But it is not his football playing career, his success with the Bulldogs or even his love of the game that will bring him to Dalton on Super Bowl Sunday.

Greene will spend his time at Salem Baptist Church, which has a busy day planned around the big game.

“It is amazing as a former athlete to have some influence, whether you like it or not, and I try to take advantage of that,” Greene said. “For me, a lot of the trip to Dalton is to give back and give my personal story. You have church and you have football, and that is a perfect day for me. I can talk about faith and football and my journey and hopefully by doing that, it might reach someone and that is worth the trip.”

Greene will share his Christian testimony during the church’s three morning services (8, 9:15 and 10:30), will speak to middle and high school athletes at 4 p.m., and will also speak at halftime during the viewing party for the game, which the public is invited to attend.

Former Varnell mayor Dan Peeples, who is organizing the event with the leaders of the church, said all area middle and high school students are invited to the 4 p.m. meet-and-greet, question-and-answer session and autograph opportunity.

The church, at 1448 Pleasant Grove Drive Northeast, is hosting a full evening of activities on Sunday, including tailgating at 6 p.m. There will be a hot-wings eating contest and raffles for televisions, autographed Georgia footballs and apparel. Each Sunday School class will have booths with food and beverages.

“I enjoy people in general, and I was pretty fortunate to get the chance to start at Georgia for four years and be part of teams in Seattle and Indianapolis and New England,” Greene said. “I have gotten to see a lot from my playing days, but being able to tell my faith to others is a wonderful opportunity. I am a guy who is very transparent and real because that is what most people want. I am someone that I think that people can relate to. I am not a superstar athlete. I am just a guy who grew up in Gwinnett County and had a chance to play at the next level.”

Greene was released by Indianapolis in 2008. His name was in the sports news this past season as Georgia senior Aaron Murray moved past Greene as the Southeastern Conference’s all-time career leader in yards gained. Murray eclipsed Greene’s record of 11,270 yards in the win over Tennessee on Oct. 5. And even though he said he doesn’t have a problem going out for dinner with his family without being recognized, the Georgia fanbase still holds Greene close to their hearts.

“It really blows my mind how loyal and how generous the Georgia fanbase is that people would still come out for signings and appearances,” Greene said. “I tell the younger players out there that if you go out there and play as hard as you can they will love you forever. The fans, yeah, it is mind-boggling how much they appreciate the things you did for Georgia football.”

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