That wasn't the sun that blinded you. It was A.J. Green's smile.
After the Cincinnati Bengals selected A.J. Green in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, the wide receiver out of Georgia spoke to the press. And it was at this time that I referred to A.J. Green as the anti-Chad. From our April 29, 2011 post:
For the love of god, after ten years with Chad Ochocinco, there has to be something wrong with this kid. Is he disappointed that he's with the Cincinnati Bengals? By most reports, Green is simply a quiet person, well reserved. When asked if he was on Twitter, his one word answer was, "yes." How much does he tweet? "I only tweet about once per week."
No television shows, no obsessions with Twitter? (make sure you follow us @cincyjungle). A majority of his answers were professional of the utmost, saying things are behind of his control when they really were. And when he's asked about anything related to his feelings about being here, he just says, "All I can do is come there and do my best, and we’ll see what happens."
And we have. He’s broken Cris Collinsworth’s franchise record for most yards receiving by a rookie, five receptions shy of breaking the receptions mark. He leads all NFL rookies in receptions (63), yards receiving (1,031), receptions converted into first downs (41) and tied with Baltimore’s Torrey Smith with seven touchdowns.
He’s also the first Bengals rookie to be named to the Pro Bowl since Cris Collinsworth – which makes you wonder if we still haven’t given Collinsworth his due – 30 years ago and only the fourth ever.
Marvin Lewis praised Green after the receiver was named to the 2012 Pro Bowl:
"As I’ve said before, A.J. is the best first-round draft pick that I’ve ever been around," Lewis said in a press release. "He has shown the other players in this league, and the fans, that he deserved this honor. I have not seen a receiver better than he is at getting to the ball."
Back to our original point: Green being the anti-Chad.
When asked about his reaction to being named, Green said:
"I'm thrilled; it's a team honor," Green said. "I was surprised when Coach (Marvin) Lewis called to tell me. But it says a lot about my teammates and my coaches and the positions they put me in to make plays."
Has he had time for it sink in yet?
"I'll have time to reflect later. Right now I'm focused on helping us win Sunday and make the playoffs," Green said.
When asked about preseason expectations in terms of personal accomplishments:
"I really didn't really set any individual goals at the beginning of the season. The first goal was to help the team win and get things back on track," Green said.
About quarterback Andy Dalton not making the Pro Bowl:
"I’m definitely surprised. Andy is a big part of why I'm going," Green said. "He'll make it next year. He’s going to be around for a long time. He’s had a great rookie year."