D'Brickashaw Ferguson sat at a table inside the employee break room, surrounded by the handful of people who had helped him transfer his ideas onto paper.
On the second floor of a Barnes & Noble in Carle Place, just five days before he reports to training camp in Cortland, the Jets' left tackle spoke of his latest effort to give back to his Long Island community: a children's book.
At a book launch Saturday morning, Ferguson introduced "GO GREEN!," the first installment in his "Brick's Way" series, which aims to "entertain children while inspiring them to make a difference in their community."
"We wanted to put out a message we could be proud of," said the Freeport native, who was joined by his wife, Kirsten, his mother, Rhunette, and Mascot Books co-founder and CEO Naren Aryal.
Ferguson took his post behind a lectern and began reading "GO GREEN!" aloud to dozens of children and their parents. They had all come to see their hometown hero, and in turn, Ferguson took his time signing every book, football and jersey after the reading.
The project hits particularly close to home for the Pro Bowl offensive lineman, who used his elementary school, Leo F. Giblyn, as the setting for the book.
"I come from Freeport, I'm proud of Freeport -- let's put that in the book. Let's have something positive that deals with some type of teamwork, effort," he said.
Through his foundation, which was established in 2007, Ferguson conducts a three-part mentorship program for high school juniors and seniors at Hofstra University, and also hosts charitable events such as the "Build-a-Bike" program for youngsters from low-income areas. But writing a book proved to be very challenging for him.
"You put a lot of pressure on yourself to make a great product," he said of the book, which took two years to complete. "But ultimately, the time paid off. Because when I see that book, I'm proud of it."
A Milestone and DC Comics buff growing up, Ferguson also praised his illustrator, Sean Tate, for bringing a "comic book feel" to the project. "To infuse that into the book, I thought was great. When I finally saw the finished copy, it was like: 'This is awesome.' "
He and Kirsten -- who described herself as "the second eye" during the editing process -- traveled to the Virginia-based publishing house four or five months ago to see the finished product. "To see it actually coming to life, and even on our drive here [to Carle Place], it was like, 'This is unreal that this is happening.
"He was meticulous, he got input from various sources," Aryal said. "And because of that, it looks fabulous."
The Fergusons, who recently celebrated their anniversary, plan to host more book signings in the Tri-State area after training camp ends. "GO GREEN!" is available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com and Bricksway.com.