Former Baltimore Ravens tight end and 10-year NFL veteran Eric Green made a home for himself in Charm City from 1996-1998, taking part in a productive offense for a franchise in its infancy.
The Orioles have a chance to start a family tradition in Baltimore. Green’s son, Elijah, is projected to be selected near the very top of the 2022 MLB Draft. The O’s have all but secured one of the two worst records in the major leagues along with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Elijah, 17, has certainly earned his way into the conversation at the top of the draft. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound outfielder has some of the loudest tools of any prepster in the 2022 draft class, boasting a home-run swing and blazing fast speed on the base paths (he ran a 6.16 60-yard dash, according to Perfect Game). He’s athletic and displays toughness, no doubt inspired by his father’s playing days in the NFL.
Coincidentally, the elder Green said on Glenn Clark Radio Sept. 16 that it was Elijah’s experience with football that ended up pushing him toward baseball.
“I think it really came from a loss that we took in football,” Green said. “Elijah was my quarterback on my football team that I ran for six years. We won four national championships. We played a national championship game against a team from Vegas, and they destroyed us. I think that took him out of football right there. He told my wife, ‘I don’t want to play football no more.'”
Green, who totaled 4,390 yards, 36 touchdowns and two Pro Bowl nods during his 120-game NFL career, knows what it will take for his son to reach the pinnacle of his sport. That journey became even more difficult when Elijah was labeled as one of the most promising young talents in the game.
Green isn’t worried. Whether Elijah honors his commitment to the University of Miami or turns pro in 2022, he is well positioned to capitalize on his talent, makeup and past experiences. As a child, Elijah was able to gain valuable perspective by taking in pro-sport atmospheres in close proximity to some of the most prominent figures in Baltimore sports.
“I got pictures, after I retired, of him on the sidelines of a Ravens-Jaguars game down in Jacksonville. Ray Lewis and Ed Reed came over and gave him a hug and a kiss,” Green said. “So I wanted him, right there, to see that action so he’ll know what to expect in pressure. If you love to play the sport you say you love, pressure is nothing to that.”
It wasn’t just Green’s football connections that allowed his son to be on the sidelines. Elijah was exposed to big-league baseball in his youth as well, possibly introducing the star-to-be to his future organization.
“At 12 years old, I took Elijah to a Red Sox-Orioles game, and I was so fortunate to be on the field at batting practice,” Green said. “I got a picture of Elijah and Buck Showalter, the manager, when Elijah was 12 years old. It’s so iconic. I always try to put him where the action is so he can see it.”
What about Elijah possibly being drafted by the Orioles?
“That would be great. That would be fantastic,” Green said.
Despite not playing his father’s sport, Elijah and Eric still have much in common. After all, Eric initially played baseball and football during his college days at Liberty University in Virginia, showing off some of the same power that his son possesses today. He says he had a home-run stroke similar to his son, but Elijah continues to find ways to impress him.
“I’m going to be totally honest, I have those moments at least once every time we go play in a tournament. He does something special at least once or twice in a tournament that will just woo you,” Green said in reference to Elijah displaying his jaw-dropping tools in games. “He still does today. We played at Tropicana [Field recently]. He hit a home run 456 feet out at Tropicana.”
Elijah’s intangibles are certainly worth raving about. But although three of his tools grade out at 70 or higher, per FanGraphs, his father says it’s Elijah’s personality that stands out.
“Elijah is a relentless worker, number one. He’ll be the first one into the building and the last one to leave,” Green said. “He’s a heck of a teammate. All his teammates love him. He’s a character guy.”
For more from Green, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Perfect Game