Modesty is always a good trait to have. It’s also a characteristic that is getting rarer and rarer with each passing generation of professional athletes.
To say one thing, A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals hasn’t lost that trait since becoming a pro football player.
In the last two years, Green has had over 2400 receiving yards, 18 total touchdowns, and is averaging 77.6 receiving yards per game with 14.9 per play on 162 receptions.
Not to mention the intangibles he brings to the team.
The opposing defense has to specifically account for Green’s presence on the field, an influence not many receivers can say they hold. As a deep target, he has speed over the top, and can catch just about anything in reach. As a short and mid range target, he shows off his athleticism via sharp route running and exceptional acceleration from the line of scrimmage.
You know, the kind of things that statistics can’t tell you.
And yet, Green denies that his status has reached the “elite” level.
Here’s what he had to say when asked the question about being considered elite:
No. I’m not there yet. This is only my third year, and I have a lot more learning to do. The biggest thing at this position is consistency — to keep getting better each year and don’t regress — and that’s my goal. I’ve been in the league two years so I still have a lot of time. When I get to Year Six, maybe then I can say I’m one of those receivers.
Going into my third year, I know the offense. I can play and be free and not worry about things. The goal, keep progressing, getting better each year. The biggest thing, hoping to get some wins and get over the hump for that one playoff game.
In the meantime, Green will have to be satisfied with being the first player in NFL history to reach 100 receptions, 1500 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns in his first 20 NFL games.