A four-year starting cornerback at UCLA, Carl Greenwood was the only defensive back that the Jets chose during the 1995 NFL Draft.
"I was excited. I was excited to get into the NFL, but to have the opportunity to go from L.A. to New York, I thought that was awesome," Greenwood said. "(I didn't feel being the only DB picked would give me an advantage because) I always felt like you're going to have to work, do what you needed to do. Exhibit yourself or display your skills to the best of your ability, and everything would just fall into place the way it's supposed to.
"I knew they drafted Aaron Glenn the year before, so I had somebody to watch and to learn from. And I learned a lot from Aaron, actually. I think getting tips from somebody who's actually out there and doing these things went a long way to helping me."
The Jets could have used a lot of help during the 1995 and '96 seasons when they posted 3-13 and 1-15 records. Greenwood recalls one of those losses was in Buffalo on November 24, 1996. Not because of being on of the wrong side of the 35-10 final score, but because of the 19-degree wind chill.
"It was just a really, really cold day. I mean, I put on whatever I thought I could put on and still manage to play," said Greenwood. "We had heated benches. We had space heaters. We had all the gear. And there was absolutely nothing you could do to get warm."
Following that season, Rich Kotite was replaced as the Jets' head coach by Bill Parcells.
"With the change from Kotite's staff to Bill's staff, that gave me a little injection of energy," Greenwood said. "I always worked hard, don't get me wrong, but with the new staff coming in, I felt like I had something to prove. I felt like I hadn't really played up to my potential up until that point. And with the new staff coming in, I wanted to do all I could to be on the 53-man roster once it was set."
Greenwood wouldn't have that chance. Prior to training camp, he was traded for Chris Hayes, a safety who had been drafted by the Jets in 1996.
"I was called a day prior and left a message from (director of pro personnel) Scott Pioli that Parcells wanted to see me at such and such a time the following day," Greenwood said. "So I went to his office, and as soon as I sat down, he said, 'Carl, how ya doing? Last night, I traded you to the Green Bay Packers for a player that you already know.' Just like that.
"We had the same agent and had been in camp together in New York. He was released and got picked up by Green Bay and was doing a good job. So I ended up being traded for a player that had already been on the Jets."
Following his time in the NFL, Greenwood play would play six seasons in the Arena League. Football is football, but what was the biggest difference he noticed between the leagues?
"Everything is quicker. In the Arena League because the field is so small, they worked off of a lot of three-step drops. So the ball was coming out a lot faster," Greenwood said. "You had to be quicker and make an adjustment to some of the things that they tried to do scheme-wise. And it took me a couple of years to pick that up. But the pace of the game, the speed of the game, is a lot different than it is in what we called 'outdoor football.'"
Making his home in Corpus Christi, Texas; for the past 16 years, Greenwood has made his living as a physical therapist assistant.
"My football career was coming close to an end, and so I was thinking about what I was going to do once that was over," Greenwood said. "And I took a class at a community college in Houston, an Anatomy & Physiology class. I made an A in the class, so I figured, 'Man, this might be something to look into, health care.'
"I saw an ad in the newspaper for a rehab tech and figured that it was something really similar to what I had been doing my whole life. Basically, working out and trying to complete the functional performances. It was on a different scale, yes, but this is essentially the same thing. And I got that job."
Greenwood has discovered that providing people with physical therapy can be rewarding.
"I worked with this man who couldn't even lift his head up from the pillow. This man had something attached to his throat, he had something attached to his intestine, and he had a heart monitor. He had everything that you could have to keep a person alive attached to his body," Greenwood said.
"I worked with that man for two or three months and he eventually left on a walker. He walked out of there. He came back a couple of weeks later to thank everybody for what they had done for him, and I got goosebumps all over my body. I get goosebumps every time I tell the story. I've got them right now, actually. But to see that you could have an impact on somebody's life like that, that's what really got me into doing physical therapy."
Greenwood wants to impact more lives around Corpus Christi. Younger lives. And he plans to open the Greenwood Sports Academy to help do so.
"I think why I am here on this earth is to try to get the kids around here better prepared for college, the academics and the athletics," Greenwood said. "I've been working on creating a program to where we could have academic prep as far as tutoring, test preparation. Something to supplement what they get in the classroom so they can be better prepped to take the SAT, the ACT, and go to school and get a good job once they get through school.
"A lot of it is focused on athletic performance, but they have to understand that, first and foremost, you are a student. And if you're good and lucky to get a pro career, you're going to be 30 years old (when you're done playing) and probably have 40 or 50 years to live. I'm trying to get kids around here to understand that part.
"I want to get them better prepared on the field through higher level of training. I have been around some great people. I've learned a lot. And I want to bring that experience with the experience that I have as a physical therapist assistant to the kids here so that they have a better chance at creating college opportunity for themselves. That's my plan and my goal."