A.J. Green already seems to hold his new quarterback, Joe Burrow, in high regard, looking at him as the leader of the Cincinnati Bengals.
This offseason has been all about the most recent additions to the Cincinnati Bengals. From several fresh faces on the defensive side of the ball via free agency to a highly regarded draft class, all the buzz has been surrounding the new guys in stripes. All the while, A.J. Green has been keeping his head down in his home state of Georgia.
Bengals.com Senior Writer Geoff Hobson caught up with the superstar wide receiver and the conversation revolved around his new quarterback, Joe Burrow. Right off the bat, it’s evident how much respect Green has for the LSU product.
"“I’ve watched him the last two years in the SEC. He beat up my Bulldogs a couple of times. He’s one of the best. With his attitude toward the game, the adversity he went through to get to where he is, you’ve got to appreciate that from a guy who’s been an underdog to being a No. 1 draft pick and Heisman Trophy winner. You have to respect his grind and his process the way he goes about his business each day.”"
It seems as though Green is well acquainted with Burrow’s entire story, even before his astronomical rise a season ago.
From an outsider’s perspective, Green, a 9-year veteran, may be reluctant to welcome a new quarterback so quickly. However, true to his humble ways, he seems to have already handed over the leadership reins to the first overall pick,
"“… He’s going to be the leader of our team. I just want to put that in him already to where he feels comfortable leading.”"
This is great to hear from all angles. Receiving a comment like this has to be a confidence boost for Burrow. The 23-year-old signal-caller is known for his leadership but no matter how strong that attribute is, it has to be a daunting task to earn the respect of an entire NFL locker room. Green is certainly admired by every single person within the organization, so if he’s behind Burrow, the rest of the team will follow suit.
With the canceled offseason, a lot of fans and pundits seem to be concerned with how quickly Burrow will be able to get acquainted with his new teammates. Green seems ready to do whatever necessary to make sure he and the rest of the receiving room build chemistry with Burrow as quickly as possible,
"“We’ve been talking back and forth. We were talking yesterday and I know he wants to get together and throw somewhere. I told him wherever he is, we’ll come to him. I don’t know where, when, how. It’s all who can fly where and when. He’s the quarterback. He makes his location and we have to get there.”"
Again, the character displayed here by Green is astounding. A 7-time Pro-Bowler, who is one of the very best at his position, is handling himself like he’s the rookie, and Burrow is the long-time veteran.
It’s this type of demeanor that makes it an obvious decision to extend Green and ensure he retires as a Bengal. It’s clear that he’s essential to building Zac Taylor’s culture and that’s before even getting to his on-the-field impact.
A.J. Green continues to prove that he’s an absolute class act and one of the best leaders to ever play in Cincinnati. Now fully recovered from injury, don’t be surprised if he reclaims his position as a top-5 receiver in the league and light things up with his new quarterback.