BROADALBIN-PERTH – When Ed Greene earned a spot on the Broadalbin-Perth varsity football team, his coaches sat him down and had a talk.
“They basically sat me down and told me that if I don’t get serious about my grades, your career is going to end at graduation, if you make it that far,” Greene said.
He heeded their advice, and his playing career did not end at graduation in 2002. Instead, the advice and his standout ability as a defensive lineman carried him to Hofstra University, the arenafootball2 league and the Canadian Football League.
Greene will now add being a member of the 2023 class being inducted in the Capital Region Football Hall of Fame to his already impressive list of accolades.
“I didn’t know about it at first. I wasn’t expecting to be nominated,” Greene said. “Coach Snyder [B-P football coach Rick Snyder] called and told me it was a unanimous vote, so I was very surprised.”
Greene joins 13 former players, five coaches, two officials, a veteran media member and an undefeated championship team to be honored at the induction ceremony on Aug. 5 at the Polish Community Center on Washington Ave. Extension in Albany.
The Class of 2023 includes former Johnstown head coach Barry Clawson, Gloversville High School standout running back Dave Smukler, Canajoharie’s Dan Hunt and the 1986 undefeated Section II Class A champion Amsterdam football team.
Players being inducted include Hudson Falls’ Sean Ryan, Glens Falls’ Corey Brand, Hoosick Falls’ Billy Pine and Brad Burns, St. Peter’s of Saratoga Springs coach Sean McDonnell, Saratoga’s Kevin Cummings, Lansingburgh’s Dexter Bishop, CBA’s Joe Catalano, Shenendehowa’s Jason Downey, Niskayuna’s Chris Nappi, and Furlong Flynn.
Playing on the varsity level for coach Snyder at Broadalbin-Perth, Greene captained the Patriots, earning first team all-state, all-area and all-section honors as a senior.
A three-sport athlete (football, basketball, track and field) for Broadalbin-Perth, Greene received offers to continue his career from New Hampshire, Buffalo, Rhode Island and Connecticut before opting to play as a defensive lineman for Division I-AA Hofstra University.
He made an immediate impact on the team, playing 12 games as a freshman, recording 14 solo tackles and 21 assisted tackles. As a senior, Greene was named to the Atlantic 10 First-Team All-Conference team.
One game stands out for Greene from his college football career.
“We were playing in Maine against a running back that needed about 100 yards to break their all-time rushing record,” he said. “That was the task given to us that game by our D-line coach, to not let him get the record against us. We decided that we were not going to go into the record books as the D-line that gave it to him. So, we held him to about 75 yards. That is something I will always remember.”
Greene’s talent was recognized and he continued to play for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers of the arenafootball2 league.
“After the draft, I ended up getting picked up by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Pioneers for the last few games that they had,” he said. “I went there and played four games and had a sack or two.”
However, Greene’s grandmother was in ill health at the time, and he wanted to continue playing in the league, only closer to home and his family.
“I found out that we actually had a team in Albany, the Albany Conquest,” Greene said. “Coach Jeff Hoffman was the assistant coach at the time, handling the defense. They reached out to me the following year, so I played with them for an entire season.”
In a preseason press release for the 2008 Conquest, coach Hoffman said, “Ed has been a crafty veteran who knows the game. We got a lot of production from him last year, especially early in the year, and he looks ready to go for the 2008 season.”
In his second season playing for the Conquest, a major opportunity knocked for Greene.
“A recruiter for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League saw me play and offered me a tryout,” he said. “I signed a contract with them, but unfortunately, the first week of training camp I got cut, so I went back to play with Albany.”
Greene reflected on a memorable play he was involved in while playing for Albany.
“We were playing against the Manchester Wolves from New Hampshire and had just thrown an interception,” he said. “I was highly upset. I challenged the D-line and asked ‘OK, who’s got the next sack?’ No one spoke up. I said ‘Never mind, I’ll get it.’ They were on like the 5-yard line and headed in.
“They slid the protection and put a running back on me. A simple club-arm over and there was nothing but the quarterback. I remember watching Reggie White, who I tried to fashion my play after, and I got one arm over his left shoulder and across his chest. I tried to swat the ball with my right arm. I took him down and heard cheering afterward. I was like ‘Oh my God, he completed the pass.’ When I looked up, our defensive tackle was 6-6 and 320-something and super athletic had picked up the fumble and ran it down the other way for the touchdown. Bruce Smith said that is the best play in football, the sack-cause fumble. It would have been beautiful, except we lost the game.”
Greene never got the chance to watch a replay of the play.
“When we were watching the film, the coach said, ‘Ed, that was an amazing sack, but unfortunately we don’t have it on camera. The tape ended like two plays before.”
Greene now lives in Virginia with his wife Nnenna Uzochukwu and their 10-month old twin daughters and works as a contract inventory analyst.
Even more than two decades after graduating from Broadalbin-Perth High School, Greene still reflects on the talk his coaches had with him.
“It was that support from them and then backing me through the years, seeing what potential I had,” he said. “Then pushing me to be as good in the classroom as I was on the field, really motivated me to do the things that I did. I didn’t realize that these things would later be considered to make me worthy enough to even be considered for the hall of fame.”