Mutual respect is often gained between two rivals who have dueled it out in their respective sport, business, etc. Such is the case with Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and Browns cornerback Joe Haden. Their have been a number of tug-of-wars between the two top-ten picks over the past three seasons and we foresee it taking place again this Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
Haden has professed his admiration for the direction of the Bengals, as well as how highly he thinks of Green, and the same sentiments were heard this week. And, if you're wondering if there is a lot of the classless noise-talking that we see between players at their positions around the league, you would be wrong.
"That’s the same with Torrey (Smith), with a lot of these receivers I go up against," Haden said. "There’s no extra beef. We’re really good competitors. And it’s cool. Because after the game you can sit and talk and hang out. "It’s super cool having the players I go up against being good guys."
Haden's comments shouldn't surprise us given Green's low-key demeanor. It's great to hear that it's just about football between these two and they leave it all on the field. And, as expected, both players have had their wins and losses--in the record and statistical columns. Green has had 25 catches for 395 yards and four touchdowns in five games against Cleveland, though it could be argued that the Week Four matchup between the teams was Green's worst in his brief "Battle of Ohio" career.
Green agrees with that argument. Aside from reciprocating the love back to Haden, calling him "one of the best", the All-Pro wideout also realizes that he not only needs to play better this Sunday, but do a better job of keeping his composure.
Said Green about the first game: "It wasn’t my best game with a lot of out-of-character stuff. I can’t get frustrated like that ever. I’m just looking forward to having a better outcome."
When asked if there was any extra incentive going up against Haden after the first game, Green said he was approaching it the same way and that he’s trying to not get caught up in all the hype. The matchup is nothing new for these guys, who have been battling against each other since Green was at Georgia and Haden at Florida.
We've seen similar kind of body language from Green this year, but it likely coincides with the team's Jekyll and Hyde nature amongst such high expectations. Haden has frustrated Green the past three years and Cincinnati might need a big play or three from Green to come out on top against Cleveland. Green, like the rest of the Bengals team, will need to keep their composure while duking it out in a very important divisional game this Sunday.