Superstar wide receiver A.J. Green reiterates he wants to retire as a Cincinnati Bengal, proving he’s everything the team could ever ask for.
On Friday, the Cincinnati Bengals announced that star wide receiver A.J. Green signed his franchise tag and will report to training camp with the rest of the team. The move signals an end to any speculation that the 7-time Pro Bowler will hold out.
It also ensures new franchise quarterback Joe Burrow will begin his career in stripes with one of the best weapons the league has to offer. Over the course of his career, Green has hauled in over 600 passes for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns, a stat line that is sure to get a huge boost moving forward with the reigning Heisman Trophy winner throwing to him.
Green has made it clear that he would have preferred to sign a long-term contract extension this offseason, something that didn’t come to fruition. Part of that could have been due to the issues the pandemic has presented but his recent injury history likely played a role as well.
A.J. Green has handled the situation with class
Although the situation has undoubtedly been frustrating, the former Georgia Bulldog has handled the situation with absolute class. Not many players of Green’s caliber are capable of the level of humility he has displayed throughout this process.
The nine-year veteran easily could have held some animosity towards the team for not giving him a contract extension. After all, the high-end performances and loyalty he’s displayed during his tenure weren’t simply erased because of some unfortunate injury luck over the past two years.
It appears Green is approaching the situation with the complete opposite mindset than many would expect, however. Bengals Senior Writer Geoff Hobson passed along a statement from Green today saying that he wants to play another four years in the orange and black, as well as retire a Bengal.
This kind of attitude doesn’t come as a surprise. Green has repeatedly shown he’s the type of person any organization would want to build around.
Earlier this offseason, without any guarantee of a future with the team, Green had this to say about building chemistry with Burrow,
"“He’s [Burrow] going to be the leader of our team. I just want to put that in him already to where he feels comfortable leading… 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.”"
You would be hard-pressed to find any person at the top of any profession displaying that kind of humbleness and respect, let alone in the NFL that is known to have its fair share of divas.
From gut-wrenching playoff losses, unfortunate injuries, and strenuous contract negotiations, A.J. Green has stuck with the Cincinnati Bengals through it all. The star wideout has proven, yet again, he is everything the franchise could ever ask for and more. Now, his focus shifts to silencing the doubters that have questioned if his career is on a downward slope.