Former Packer Ahman Green, the franchise’s all-time leading rusher, will be the featured speaker at the Boy Scouts of America-Gateway Council’s annual Golden Eagle Award Dinner Thursday night at the Waterfront in La Crosse.

Former Packers GM Ron Wolf, who spoke at the Boy Scouts fund-raising dinner three years ago, said this morning in a phone interview from his Florida home that acquiring Green ranks as one of the greatest trades in the Packers history.

“I think in the long history of Packers, we had the opportunity to make two monumental trades,” Wolf said.  “The one for Brett Favre, and the one for Ahman Green.

“Ahman was just an outstanding player for a long period of time for Packers.  It sure worked out well for us.  And to break Jim Taylor’s franchise rushing record is amazing.  Taylor played in an era when they ran the ball, Green played when the emphasis was on passing.

“I’m not patting myself on the back, but Ahman was the second best trade we made.  Second only to Brett Favre.”

Green retired as a Packer after a 12-year career in the National Football League with Seattle, Green Bay and Houston.  He played eight years (2000-2006, 2009) for the Packers and two seasons with the Seahawks (1998-99) and Texans (2007-08).

The former high school All-American running back and University of Nebraska star resides in Green Bay and cherishes his time in a Packer uniform.

“The best days of my pro career were here in Green Bay,” Green said in a 2011 interview with me.  “I would have liked to have been a part of the Packers’ Super Bowl run last season, but I’m really happy for the guys that they won it.”

Green came to Green Bay in a trade that will go down as one of the best business transactions in the 104-year history of the franchise.

Wolf orchestrated the deal with the Seattle Seahawks on April 15, the day of the 2000 NFL draft.  Wolf sent cornerback Fred Vinson and a 2000 sixth-round selection (DT Tim Watson) to Seattle for Green and a 2000 fifth-round selection (WR/KR Joey Jamison.).

Vinson, a cornerback from Vanderbilt, was Green Bay’s second-round selection in the 1999 draft as part of the deal that allowed former head coach Mike Holmgren to join Seattle in 1999.  Green entered the NFL draft after his junior year and was a third-round draft choice of the Seahawks in 1998.  He was viewed as expendable by Holmgren due to ball-security issues.

“That trade rates right up there because of the quality of player Ahman Green became and the legacy he left with the Packers,” Wolf said in my 2011 interview  “He left as the all-time leader rusher of this franchise.  That’s remarkable and a tribute to him.  He was a complete player that could run, catch, and block.  Boy, could he run.”

Green ran into the Packers record books during his second stint with the team.  After seven seasons in Green Bay, Green signed a lucrative $23 million free-agent contract with the Houston Texans in 2007.

After two injury-plagued seasons in Houston, he was resigned by Green Bay in 2009 as a back-up to starter Ryan Grant.  In the eighth game of the season in Tampa Bay, Green eclipsed Jim Taylor’s all-time rushing mark of 8,207 yards (1,811 attempts, 4.53 ave.) with a 2-yard carry in the fourth quarter of a 38-28 loss and finished the season with 8,322 career yards (1,851, 4.50 ave.).

“We were very fortunate to get a very productive player of Ahman’s caliber,” Wolf said.  “It was a special trade for me because that pick was for Mike Holmgren.  We took a Fred Vinson and got an Ahman Green.”

Green also holds the team’s single-season rushing record with 1,883 yards in 2003 and the single-game rushing standard with 218 yards in 20 attempts against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 28, 2003, including a team best 98-yard touchdown burst.  He set two more team marks with 10 games of 100 or more yards that season and totaled 33 in his Green Bay career.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet that I’m the leading rusher in Packer history,” Green said.  “I wasn’t that type of player that I have to get that record or I have to have this many carries in a game.  All I wanted to do is help the team win.”

What is impressive to Green is how long Taylor’s career rushing record stood.

“What got me was how long that record had been around, something like 43 years,” he said.  “What Jim Taylor did, he did the right way.  He was the workhorse.  I hope he’s proud of the fact that a guy like me broke it; a guy that just went out there and played the game hard like he did.”

In my 2011 interview, Taylor said he and Green were “old-school” running backs.  “That’s the name of the game,” Taylor said.  “It’s a game of contact.  You have to be willing to hit people and take the punishment and dish it out.  The good ones enjoy that aspect.”

Wolf said the versatile Green was the Packers’ workhorse during his tenure.

“He came from a great program at Nebraska, a place with a great tradition of running backs,” Wolf said.  “If you wore the cowbell there, you earned it.  And Ahman wore the cowbell for us.  He rarely came off the field because he could do it all.  He had some fumbles, but he took a lot of hits and played so many snaps.  We don’t condone it, but it’s going happen.”

The 6-foot, 217-pound Green learned at an early age to embrace the physicality of the sport.  His training habits and work ethic in the weight room endeared him to his Green Bay teammates and coaches and he was a quiet leader in the team locker room.

“That’s the only way I know how to run,” said Green, an All-American running back and state champion sprinter at Omaha’s Central High School.  “I made defenders think twice about tackling me.  I developed that mentality by watching my older brothers play and from my coaches.  If you’re not physical, you’re not going top play.  I enjoyed that part of the game.  The harder I got hit early in the game the more focused I became.”

Green idolized the Chicago’s Walter Payton growing up in Omaha—a good role model according to former Bears head coach Mike Ditka.

“Walter was one of his heroes because of how he played the game,” Ditka said in my 2011 interview.  “What made Walter Payton was his heart and desire and effort—he didn’t have the greatest of physical tools.  But great football players are not just about how high you jump or how fast you run, you know.”

“I thought Ahman Green was a tough runner and a very good football player.  He’s the Packers’ all-time leading rusher and is in some pretty good company with a guy like Jimmy Taylor—I can attest to that.”

His lone regret may be that he didn’t earn a Super Bowl ring.  The Packers won three NFC North crowns in Green’s tenure, but advanced only to the divisional round in 2001 (St. Louis) and 2003 (Philadelphia) before losing in five playoff appearances.

“I just missed out on the Packers run (in 2010),” said Green, who attended Super Bowl XLV.  “One year too late.  I played with a lot of the guys and I was very happy for them.  But I wish I could have contributed.”

A two-time All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowl selection, Green played in 104 regular-season games for the Packers and led the team in rushing six times.  The durable back missed most of the 2005 season after suffering rupturing a quadriceps tendon, but returned to form in 2006 and recorded a sixth season of more than 1,000 yards.

Green has worn many hats in his post-football career, including Big Ten sideline announcer, high school teacher, high school coach, and entrepreneur.  Today, he is an instructor and coach of the eSports team at the University of Nebraska, combining his love of football and gaming with coaching.  “I love it,” Green said.  “It’s been a life-long passion for me.”