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Patience pays for San Diego Chargers guard Tyronne Green

If patience is a virtue, Tyronne Green wrote the book on how to wait your turn in the sport of football.

And that made Sunday night in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome so special for Tammy Beck.

In fact, it was “Ladies Night” as the San Diego Chargers met the New Orleans Saints on a national broadcast.

In attendance to support Green, the Woodham High graduate and gifted left guard for the Chargers, was his mother, Virginia Green, godmother, Diana Young-Smith, and Beck — his kindergarten teacher at Holm Elementary School.

Kindergarten teacher? You betcha.

“This is so special — I’ve followed his career from high school, to college, and now the pros,” said Beck, wearing a No. 69 powder-blue Tyronne Green jersey, just like his mom and godmother. “This is so rewarding as a teacher, extremely rewarding, to watch all these things that have happened for someone you first knew at such a young age.

“He’s worked extremely hard on so many levels … so many doors have opened for him because hard work and belief and doing the right things really does pay off.”

But the wait can be taxing.

Recruited to Auburn in 2004, Green only made 13 starts in 30 career games for the Tigers for a reason — his spot was owned by Ben Grubbs, who would become the No. 29 overall draft pick in 2007 by the Baltimore Ravens.

Stats and starts, however, have never defined Green — talent has.

With a limited body of work, the 6-foot-2, 307-pounder was a fourth-round draft pick of the Chargers in 2009. The problem was his spot, again, was occupied by another star player. This time Kris Diehlman, a four-time Pro Bowl pick and member of the Chargers’ 50th Anniversary Team.

It took Diehlman’s forced retirement, after suffering a head injury in a game last season against the New York Jets, to open the door for Green.

He’s never looked back. Sunday night was Green’s 10th straight start.

“Tyronne has always been a really good player,” said Grubbs, now the starting left guard in New Orleans, following the Saints’ 31-24 win. “It’s just one of those things — sometimes it’s timing, and sometimes it’s waiting for your time. This is his time.”

In first place in the AFC West, the Chargers (3-2) missed a golden opportunity to take a two-game lead over Denver when the Saints rallied from a 24-14 deficit early in the third quarter. On the night when Drew Brees moved past Johnny Unitas to set the NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, the Saints scored the game’s final 17 points to close out the win.

A New Orleans defense that ranked dead-last in the NFL held San Diego to just seven points in the second half. Brees had a field day by game’s end, passing for 370 yards and four touchdowns.

For the Chargers, next up is a showdown with Denver on Monday night at home in Qualcomm Stadium.

Green will be at 11 consecutive starts and counting.

“There was quite a bit of frustration for a time, because there were times he felt he gave his all, gave everything that he could give, and was still not in that (starting) position,” Virginia Green said. “That’s hard for athletes that have had success, but that’s when I would encourage him to learn from others. He had to work and wait his turn, but that perseverance has paid off.”

“I was just kind of rolling with what my role was, which was helping out and filling in at multiple spots,” Green said. “I’m blessed, obviously, to have a starting spot now. It was all about patience and being ready when you’re number is called. … It’s just about being accountable and dependable and doing my job now.”



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Neil S. Schwartz

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