N.C. State’s Greene ready to get back to football

jgiglio@newsobserver.comAugust 12, 2012 

N.C. State's Mustafa Greene (33), left, talks with Tony Creecy (26) as they wait for the 2012 N.C. State Wolfpack football team to get its team photo made Saturday, August 11, 2012.

ETHAN HYMAN — ehyman@newsobserver.com

— Healthy and humbled, Mustafa Greene just wants to play football.

The N.C. State running back is eager, and past ready, to put all of his issues — injury, legal, academic — behind him and get back on the field.

"It has been a long time," Greene said. "I’m so ready to get back into practice. I just want to get out there and play."

Greene, a redshirt sophomore, hasn’t played since the Wolfpack’s Champs Bowl win over West Virginia at the end of the 2010 season.

As a true freshman, Greene led the Pack in rushing with 597 yards and four touchdowns. He also caught 30 passed for 272 yards for two touchdowns.

He caught a 16-yard touchdown in the 23-7 win over the Mountaineers on Dec. 28, 2010. That was the last good thing to happen to Greene’s football career.

In the spring of 2011, he suffered a foot injury in practice. Greene suffered ligament damage that required two surgeries.

Initially, Greene was supposed to miss the first four games of the 2011 season, but he never even made it to the practice field.

In February, Greene’s legal troubles started. He was charged with six traffic violations in Rowan County and then missed his court date.

On April 2, when the Raleigh police served Greene a warrant for his missing court date, they found a marijuana grinder in his apartment, which led to misdemeanor drug paraphernalia charge in Wake County.

Greene’s original traffic issues have been resolved and his court date in Wake County has been rescheduled for June 7, 2013.

While Greene was in legal trouble, he had run into discipline issues on the practice field with coach Tom O’Brien. O’Brien kicked Greene out of practice, after Greene was back on a limited basis, this spring and Greene did not play in the Kay Yow Spring Game.

When State opened practice July 31, Greene was still absent, this time for academic reasons. On Thursday, O’Brien cleared Greene to return to practice.

O’Brien said Greene will participate Tuesday in the team’s third scrimmage. The coach is also looking forward to the competition at tailback, where leading rushers James Washington and Tony Creecy currently sit ahead of Greene on the depth chart.

O’Brien expects Greene to be rusty after the long layoff.

"We’ve got some decisions to make but my experience has been they will separate themselves," O’Brien said.

For his part, Greene is happy to be healthy. He says he’s 100 percent and eager to compete with Washington and Creecy, who showed the same type of versatility in running the ball and catching it last season in State’s offense.

Still, Greene, who’s 6-foot and 213 pounds, beat out Washington and Creecy during the 2010 season and would be an added bonus to the Pack’s offense, which ranked 109th in rushing last season.

No matter where he ends up on the depth chart, Greene is happy to be able to get back on the field.

"I’m fortunate enough to get a second chance," Greene said. "I just thank coach O’Brien and my teammates."

Giglio: 919-829-8938

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