Football and literature. Not exactly your average combination of career moves, but those were the two passions that Tim Green cultivated while growing up in Syracuse, N.Y. Green began his football career (with the Jaycee Tigers) and his reading addiction (with The Hardy Boys) at age 8. Last month, the ex-Atlanta Falcons defensive end and current Fox TV football analyst, NPR commentator, and newspaper columnist came out with his second book, Titans (Turner, $21.95), a 453-page thriller that intertwines the lives of a champion pro quarterback, a gangster, and an ambitious FBI man during the course of one particular season.
Green, 30, who retired at the end of last season, spent eight years with the Falcons. He also attended law school in the off-season, and began working on his first novel, Ruffians. ”Writing enabled me to appreciate the experience of playing football more than most guys,” he says. ”It forced me to examine it and it preserved it for me.” He still writes nightly from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. on a desk in his bedroom, while his wife, Illyssa, and three children sleep. ”If the baby wakes up and needs a bottle, or if one of the kids has a nightmare, I can take care of them.”
The author credits his parents for his mind/body well-being. ”I have this vivid childhood memory of Sundays, playing football with the neighborhood kids in the yard and then coming inside to watch the NFL games with all our dads,” he explains. ”I also remember going to the library every Monday night with my parents and getting our books for the week.”
Green can also claim another big score: He’s hooked his former Falcons teammates. ”I think just about all of them read my first book,” he says. ”And they’re already bugging me for copies of the new one.”