As Bengals’ veteran A.J. Green gets towards the later stages of his career, he should seek to emulate Cardinals’ legend, Larry Fitzgerald.
After two seasons that were devastated by injuries, Cincinnati Bengals’ veteran receiver A.J. Green was franchise tagged, keeping him in the Queen City for at least one more season. The two sides could not come to a contract extension agreement, likely due to Green’s unavailability over the past two years.
Although the 7-time Pro Bowler couldn’t get the deal he wanted, his play in 2020 could earn him the contract he feels he deserves. He may already be 31 years old, but there is a legendary receiver in Arizona whose late success he can seek to emulate.
Larry Fitzgerald’s blueprint for A.J. Green
Larry Fitzgerald is now 36 years old, but his NFL career is still finding relative success. Since the age of 31, Green’s current age, Fitzgerald has played 6 seasons, with a combined statistical total of 532 receptions, 5,716 yards, and 33 touchdowns. These are outstanding numbers at Fitzgerald’s stage in his career and if Green can remain healthy, he could just follow suit.
In Green’s recent press conference, he gave his estimate on how much elite play he has left in the tank,
"“I’ve got at least four, four great years left in me. Great years. I’ve always said I want to play fifteen years but coming down I’m like, man, maybe I can play more. You know, where my body is, I feel good.”"
That should be welcome news for the orange and black faithful as doubt swirls around his ability to continue to perform.
Green went on to make a very good point about his ability to keep up the pace in his later years,
"“I’m not the fastest guy, but I’m smooth and I feel like my game translates a lot to when I get older because I’m not losing anything. I still work out the same.”"
This is a very interesting angle from the former Georgia Bulldog that not many have mentioned up to this point. Sure, Green is getting up there in age. However, his style of play doesn’t require him to be young and fast. His play style as a smooth player with great hands will not go away with age, he can be just as solid as ever as his body grows older.
If this theory holds true and Green can maintain a high level of play throughout his 30’s, he should be able to replicate Fitzgerald’s late-career, barring any injuries. If this happens, Green can wind up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.