Green was drafted twenty-first overall by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL Draft. He initially held out for 54 days, causing him to miss training camp, preseason, and the opening game of the 1990 NFL season. Initially Green had threatened to sit out the entire season, which would have made him eligible for the 1991 NFL Draft. It took a call from Liberty head coach Sam Rutigliano to the Steelers front office to tell them to keep pursuing Green and that a deal could be made. Green signed the day after the season opening game, but did not play until week five. When Green did return to the Steelers lineup, his impact was immediately noticed. The Steelers offense did not score a touchdown until Green returned to the lineup. When he returned, he caught five of Bubby Brister's seven touchdown passes. With Green's return being noticed, defensive line coach Joe Greene commented, "Without Eric Green, we might not have scored a touchdown last year.". Green's versatility was shown in his rookie season by having him play several different positions, including wide receiver, slotback, wingback, H-back, and even running back.
On November 9, 1992, Green received a six game suspension for violating the National Football League's drug policy. The league did not say which part of the policy that Green violated, but did confirm that it was not for steroids. At the time of the suspension, players who tested positive for steroids received a six game suspension. Although the league would not confirm, this was the second time Green had violated the drug policy. A player receives treatment and counseling for a first offense and no announcement is made.
After a Pro Bowl season in 1993 season where Green achieved career highs in receptions (63), yards (942), and yards per reception (15.0), Green chose to hold out at the beginning of the 1994 season. "I want to be compensated for what I've done, but the Steelers weren't prepared to do that," said the 290-pound Green, the NFL's biggest tight end. With the ultimatum of either signing with the Steelers or miss the opening weekend game against the Dallas Cowboys, Green signed a one year, $1.4 million dollar contract on September 1, 1994. Green had rejected the Steelers earlier offer of a $10 million dollar contract and took the lower offer to ensure his right to free agency after the season. After back to back Pro Bowl seasons with the Steelers, Green became an unrestricted free agent at the end of the 1994 NFL season.
On March 11, 1995, Green signed a six year, $12 million dollar contract with the Miami Dolphins. At the time of the signing, Green's contract made him the highest paid tight end in NFL history. Green had also visited with the Raiders prior to signing with the Dolphins, but they did not make him an offer.
On July 9, 1996, Green was released from the Miami Dolphins. His weight problems and work ethic caused then-coach Jimmy Johnson to release Green from the team, which terminated his six year, $12 million dollar contract. Green attempted to collect his $1.5 million dollar salary by going to arbitration. He said that his knee injury was caused by jogging with the team at mini-camp, while the Dolphins said it occurred while jogging at home.
Green was sued for unpaid child support for his 16-year-old daughter Erica in Pittsburgh, reportedly owing over $200,000. The court ruled that Green did not have to pay the $200,000 in back child support because he has little income and that he could even recover the $50,000 that he had placed in a college education fund