Part three of Bengal Heroes takes us back to near the beginning of the disastrous Mike Brown era when everything started to go wrong in Bengladom. The year was 1992, Dave Shula was coaching the Bengals to a 5-11 record, Anthony Munoz would play his last NFL game, and Boomer (he played terrible with a 57.0 QB rating that was the worst of his career) was replaced as the starting quarterback by David Klingler (the rookie showed just how bright his future would be sporting a 66.3 QB Rating). Amidst all the doom and gloom the Bengals lone ray of sunshine that year was running back, Harold Green.
In 1992 Harold Green ran for a career high 1170 yards on his way to amassing the fifth most career rushing yards in Bengals history with 3727. This set the mark as the most single season rushing yards in franchise history, since broken by Corey Dillon and Rudi Johnson. So good was Harold’s season the following year on the back of his football card he was described as “A big, slashing runner with the power to break tackles, he has excellent balance and speed.” This big, slashing runner was drafted out of South Carolina (he’s also third in career rushing at USC) by the Bengals in 1990 with the 38th pick in the draft.
My good memories of Harold seemed way out of whack for him having only one 1,000 yard season. So I went back and checked it out and I’m pretty sure I figured out why Harold Green’s 1992 season really stood out in my mind. It all stems from the fact that he ran for over 100 yards in five games (tying a Bengals single season record that he still holds with four others). The last time of the year he did it was the 15th game of the 1992 season when he ran for 190 yards.
Now you might not there was anything a special about this particular 100 yard game, but you’d be sadly mistaken. After Harold ran for over the century mark no other Bengal would repeat this feat until Ki-Jana Carter ran for 202 yards in the 3rd game of the 1997. It took 67 games for the Bengals to have another 100 yard rusher after Harold did it last. Over FOUR straight years went by including the entire 1993, 1994, 1995, and 1996 seasons without anyone breaking 100 yards on the ground. How is that even remotely possible? What odds could get you get on that ever happening again to any NFL team? FOUR YEARS, 67 GAMES!!! I still can’t believe this happened.
Ignoring for a moment all that is unfathomable terrible about the Bengals, 1992 was a still a good year to be a Harold Green fan. Harold was 8th in the NFL in rushing for the year, and was named a pro-bowl running back along side the likes of Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith, and Thurman Thomas. Looking back it seems ridiculous that Harold Green was in the same class as these running backs even for just a single season, but that’s why Harold’s 1992 campaign makes him a Bengal Hero.
That and the fact that he is a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame (he was inducted in the class of 2006 along with another Bengal great, Standford Jennings) which I’m sure drove up his speaking fee (Harold Green actually charges $3,000-$5,000 per speech for those to lazy to click on the link).