Anthony “Bubba” Green, a former Baltimore Colts defensive lineman who later became a public safety advocate following the death of his teenage daughter, died Friday from lung cancer. He was 61.
Born in Cape May, New Jersey, to Elmer W. Green, a police officer, and Delores Lee, a special needs teacher, Mr. Green excelled in football — eventually earning a football scholarship to North Carolina State University. A successful college career resulted in him being drafted in the sixth round by the Colts in 1981. He played one season in the NFL, finishing with an interception and a fumble recovery in 15 games (10 starts).
A lingering knee injury from college cut short his NFL career, according to his wife, Nancy Arrington Green.
“He was on injured reserve when [the Baltimore Colts] skipped away in the night,” she said. “He had surgery in college. He had staples to reattach his ligaments. His injury gave him a 50-50 chance. In his prayers, he asked to play ball again. But he didn’t ask how long.”
After his NFL career, Mr. Green worked a number of jobs before turning his attention to his other passion: children. He worked with baseball and football youth leagues in Reisterstown and Randallstown.
“He would ride into the city and see any kids who were meandering. He would talk to the parents. Then he would get them to play and practice,” his wife recalled.
Later, Mr. Green coached football and recruited at Morgan State for 11 years during the 2000s, according to his wife. He also worked at the University of Baltimore, she added.
“He never worked a day in his life because he loved working with kids,” she said.
Mr. Green’s 14-year-old daughter Deanna Green died in 2006 after being electrocuted by a fence in Druid Hill Park. After the child’s death, he and his wife started the Deanna’s Lyric Foundation to provide scholarships to students of the performing arts.
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“Bubbie” — as his wife called him — “and Deanna had a good connection,” Mrs. Green said. “She was very proud of her dad.”
Mr. Green and his wife also petitioned regulators to improve the safety of electrical fences through the "Deanna Camille Green Rule.” Adopted by the Maryland Public Service Commission in 2011, it requires electric companies in the state to eliminate dangerous "contact voltage" in public objects that can transmit electricity, such as streetlights, traffic signals and playground equipment.
“He pushed so that no other mother or father would lose a child. What happened to Deanna was completely avoidable,” his wife said, adding that he traveled to other cities trying to prevent similar deaths from occurring. “He did fight until the very end.”
In his spare time, Mr. Green enjoyed assembling model cars, drawing, reading the Bible and discussing politics.
“His interests were broad. He loved family. He loved friends He loved to have a good time. I can’t put Bubbie in a nutshell,” said his wife of 37 years. The two met her freshman year at North Carolina State University, she said. “He was the best.”
In addition to his wife and his mother, of Woodbine, New Jersey, Mr. Green is survived by his son, Anthony Arrington Green Jr., of Randallstown; two sisters: Sandra D. Lowe of Spotsylvania, Virginia, and Mary E. Green-Smith of Vineland, New Jersey, and a brother, Scott Gurdgiel, of Vineland.
A viewing will be held 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Vaughn Greene Funeral Home, 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown. On Saturday, a wake viewing will be held at 10 a.m. and a service at 11 a.m.* at Colonial Baptist Church, 9411 Liberty Road in Randallstown.
This article has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly stated the start time of the funeral.