Riley Green Hangs Out with NFL Football Legend DeMarcus Ware: 'It Was as Close as I Get to Being Flustered'

"I'm a football fan and it's just cool to be around people that have made it to that level," Green tells PEOPLE

riley green
Riley Green. Photo: Courtesy Crown Royal

Country music hitmaker Riley Green could once only dream of the night he had earlier this month, when he not only found himself in the middle of the massive home of the Dallas Cowboys, but also found himself hanging out with former Cowboys outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware.

"It's kind of breathtaking going into that stadium anyway, and then here I am standing next to a guy like DeMarcus," he tells PEOPLE the day after playing a recent Crown Royal Generosity Hour at AT&T Stadium, as Crown Royal is now the first-ever whisky sponsor of the National Football League (NFL). "It was as close as I get to being flustered. But he's an Auburn guy! I'm a football fan and it's just cool to be around people that have made it to that level."

riley green
Riley Green. Courtesy Crown Royal

Granted, before Green grew up to be a big country music superstar best known for powerhouse songs such as the platinum-certified "I Wish Grandpas Never Died" and the No. 1 gold-certified "There Was This Girl," he was just a little kid growing up in Jacksonville, Alabama, dreaming of what it would be like to stand on that famous field.

"I played ball when I was growing up and I was a big Cowboys fan as a kid, so it was definitely a cool thing to just be in that stadium," he explains. "But then, add that to the fact that you are there to play your show on that stage, and you begin to realize what a big deal it is."

Perhaps the bigger deal of this particular show was the fact that Green was doing it as part of the 'Kick Off with Crown Royal' program, created to honor the work of those in the hospitality industry along with members of the military.

"At the end of the day, what I get to do for a living is pretty cool," Green says with a laugh. "But when you can somehow find a way to perform for a good cause, it's even more special. It's obvious that entertainers were out of work during the pandemic, but you don't really think about how those people that work at these concerts and within the service industry were out of work too, because we weren't having these shows, you know? So it was great to be able to help those people out a little bit."

riley green
Crown Royal Cocktails. Courtesy Crown Royal

Just a few days before, Green found himself spending time with yet another love — hunting.

"It was the first elk hunt I've ever done with a bow, and it was more physically demanding than anything I've done hunting-wise," he says of his recent hunting trip in Montana. "We went like 12 to 13 miles a day. Even though it wasn't a successful hunt, it felt like we were really accomplishing something."

It's a good feeling for sure, especially as Green's time on the Dierks Bentley Beers on Me tour has hit its share of bumps due to breakthrough COVID cases amongst the road crew, forcing the cancellation of this week's shows.

"When you look out in the crowd, you can tell that people are just so happy about being out and doing anything and going back and feeling some sense of normalcy after such a crazy year," says Green. "The show has been great. Dierks is great. His camp takes good care of us. It's been one of my favorite tours to be on and it seems like it gets better every week."

And yes, there is a definite friendship between the boys.

"Dierks' a goof, which makes it easy for me," admits Green, who will head off on his own headlining We Out Here Tour starting in November. "We definitely hit it off pretty early. When you see these people that have had 20-year careers, it's 'cause they're good folks — they take care of people and they truly love country music. It's also just nice being on tour with folks that are pulling for you!"

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