Ernest “Ernie” Green (born October 15, 1938) is a former American football fullback for the Cleveland Browns in the National Football League.
Green was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia, and attended Spencer High School there.
Green attended the University of Louisville from 1958 to 1961, rushing for more than 1,500 yards in his college football career with the Cardinals and twice leading the team in that department. He also excelled in baseball, spurning contract offers in order to remain on the gridiron.
Green Bay Packers
In 1962 the reigning world champion Green Bay Packers drafted Green in the 14th round of the 1962 NFL Draft, but during training camp they traded him to the Cleveland Browns where he would make a name for himself as one of the league’s top running backs.
After seeing only limited action as a rookie in 1962, Green was installed in the Cleveland backfield the following year alongside legendary Hall of Famer Jim Brown. He finished his first full season of action with 526 rushing yards, and also caught 28 passes out of the backfield. Even more importantly, he also helped open holes for Brown to gain a then-NFL record 1,863 yards. In 1964, the two helped the Browns capture their fourth NFL championship, capping the year with a stunning 27-0 shutout of the Baltimore Colts at the 1964 NFL Championship Game.
Following Brown’s retirement in July 1966, Green was switched from halfback to fullback and teamed with another future Hall of Famer, Leroy Kelly, to continue to give Cleveland one of the most dangerous backfield combinations in the NFL. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in each of the next two seasons, and was twice named an NFL All-Pro.
In August 1968, Green injured his knee during a preseason contest in Los Angeles and missed the next two months. On his return, he saw only limited action due to lingering problems with the knee. Just after the end of the season, he underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage in the troublesome knee but was then advised to retire. He followed that advice and accepted the Browns’ offer to coach their running backs.
In his seven-year NFL career, he gained 3,204 yards and caught 179 passes out of the backfield.
Retirement and business interests
Green runs Ernie Green Industries, which manufactures components for the automotive industry in suburban Dayton, Ohio.