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A.J. Green vows to return ‘if feeling good’

No one would blame A.J. Green if he elected for precautionary rest for the remainder of the season, but he just isn’t that kind of person. If Green is healthy, he will play.

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Cleveland Browns v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

A.J. Green’s level of dedication to the Bengals has rarely been questioned, and for good reason. He has consistently played his heart out for the team in his six years in the NFL. Unfortunately, a torn hamstring suffered on the first drive of the Bengals’ Week 11 game against the Bills has kept him out of action. Green is expected to miss at least another week, if not the rest of the season. But, on Friday, Green reaffirmed his commitment to playing for the Bengals, vowing to return when he is healthy.

"I'm not going to bail out on my team because we're not having the season we want to have,” Green told Jim Owczarski of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “That's not the type of guy I am. When I'm healthy, then I'm going to go play, no matter what week it is. If it's the last game I come back, if I'm feeling good, then I'm going to play the last game."

Per the Enquirer, Green has a grade two strain, or a 50 percent tear of the muscle.

It’s great to see that, not only is Green’s injury mild enough that he can seriously consider returning at some point this season, but also that he is dedicated to the Bengals enough to not let the injury be an excuse for extra rest in what has proven to be a bust of a season. That said, he understands that he needs to treat his body with respect and won’t be rushing himself back before he’s ready just to fulfill his desire to get back onto the field.

"I'm not going to put my whole career and jeopardize (it) because of a record,” Green said. “I've got a lot of football left to be played. I'm not going to push it just to try and get that and have to miss more time next year or have surgery because I went out too early and tore it even more."

The record that Green is referring to is the fact that he is on pace to join Randy Moss as the only two receivers in NFL history to record 1,000+ yards in each of their first six seasons. He is at 964 yards right now, so he will probably hit that mark if he returns for even one game in 2016. It was unfortunate to see Green go down with an injury with just 36 yards to go to complete that record.

For what it’s worth, Green would almost certainly gain the 36 yards he needs against the Browns next week, whom he has traditionally performed very well against. He has only failed to reach 36 yards in two of his 11 total games against the Browns. Yesterday, it was speculated that Green has a chance of being active against the Browns in Week 14. That seems a bit early, considering many thought he’d need 4-6 weeks to recover, but, Green seems to think the injury is not that bad.

"It's not bad," he said. "It's not tore off the bone or nothing like that. No surgery needed."

That said, if he isn’t 100 percent healthy, there’s no reason to try to bring Green back. 2016 is virtually a wash at this point for the Bengals, so the they shouldn’t return him just for the sake of desperately trying to win games or to become a record holder. But, the great thing about Green is he lives for playing football and will make every effort to return if he is healthy enough to do so.

"I want to get back," he said. "No matter what type of season we have, I'm not the type of guy to cash it in. So, whenever it's ready, I'll be ready to go. But, I'm not going to rush it because I'm not going to have this be a continuing issue."

You have to love a player with that level of dedication to his craft and his team.