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'It's the pinnacle': Family reacts to Green's jersey retirement  

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For several weeks, members of the Green family had been trying their hardest to keep a huge secret.

Darrell's son, 35-year-old Jared Green, joked that it wasn't a matter of if the news had almost been spilled but how many times.

"Oh, my stars. Last night I thought we almost weren't going to keep it anymore," Jared's mom Jewell Green said with relief mixed in with a laugh.

Mission accomplished, though. Moments of anxiety aside, the Green family was able to keep secret the news that the family patriarch Darrell Green would be having his No. 28 jersey retired by Washington. Widely considered one of the best cornerbacks to play the game, Green becomes just the fifth player in franchise history to have his jersey retired. For his family, news of this decision feels even more special than many of the other impressive accomplishments on the legend's resume.

Though Green has compiled a laundry list of accomplishments, the player and the family never tried to fixate on the jersey retirement gesture.

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"Sometimes you wait for something for so long that you forget about it, and you just let it sit," Jared Green said.

New ownership wasn't keen to let thoughts of Green's jersey retirement sit though, and seeing the group's push to make this moment happen was very touching for the family.

"For this ownership to come in and for this new regime to come in and this be one of the top priorities is incredible," Jared said.

Members of the organization, including Director of Alumni Relations Tim Hightower, informed Jared and his mom of plans to retire the #28 in the beginning of the year. Though the two have watched the Washington Legend be inducted into the Hall of Fame and garner dozens of other accolades, the jersey retirement news hit different.

"With this particular situation, it actually feels bigger than everything else because one, he lives right down the street; and two, his life has been given to this team," Jared said. "Even when he was in the shadows, he was leading, supporting and mentoring players. He has been involved in the organization from a distance forever. All those other accolades were the world recognizing him, this is home recognizing him, and that's why it's so much bigger."

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This big honor was worthy of a big reveal, and the following weeks were spent trying to formulate a plan to surprise Darrell. Qualities about her husband, like being detail-oriented, that Jewell Green typically loves became agitating characteristics as she tried to throw him off the scent.

"He's like, 'Why would I be going to the Park randomly in the afternoon, the week before draft?'" she recalled. "I was trying to keep my story straight."

Jewell and Jared told Darrell that he would be going to OrthoVirginia Training Center at Commanders Park to read a script that would be turned into a voiceover for an NFL Draft hype video. A little trickery led to Darrell reading out that his #28 would be retired. Jewell watched in the studio as the realization dawned on her husband, and the emotions washed over.

"He looked at it. He read it and then he just stopped and said, 'Oh come on you gotta be kidding,'" she said. "And then he starts to cry. So I said 'OK, I'm not looking anymore. I've done my part.'"

Jewell, too, who has been married to Darrell since she was 19, was overcome.

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"I just keep thinking of him as this little kid who never thought this might happen. He was a walk-on in college and for him to be a Hall of Famer, his jersey being retired," she said. "It's the pinnacle. There are no words for it."

After the surprise, Green was surrounded by over a dozen loved ones, including 10 grandchildren of all ages. Having that group there made the occasion particularly powerful.

"This is the first ever time that this tribe has been able to come together and celebrate the leader. Some of these folks are one and two years old, so for us to capture that in video, audio, picture, it's gonna be great for years to come," Jared said. "All of us being in the same room and just feeling the energy, that was unbelievable. It was explosive."

Though which game will feature the jersey retirement is yet to be determined (the 2024 schedule will be released next month), the family is already looking forward to that day in a place and in front of the fan base that means the world to them.

"I said last weekend, 'This will be like planning the Hall of Fame but even more special because it's in our city.' And with the people that are most special to him," Jewell said.

Check out our special DG-dedicated webpage and click here to stay up to date with all info about his jersey retirement this season!

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