A.J. Green has made a public statement via a Bengals team spokesman that he is not “unhappy” with the team.
A.J. Green said thru #Bengals spokesman that any reports of him being unhappy with the team are untrue.— Jay Morrison (@JayMorrisonCMG) December 30, 2016
This follows a report from yesterday that Green hasn’t been around the Bengals’ facility this week. Per Bob Holtzman:
WR A.J. Green hasn't been around much this week. One player told me he hasn't seen Green in a single meeting since the wide receiver left Houston on Saturday. I'm told that's rare, even for an injured player.
Green reportedly bolted from Houston nearly immediately after finding out he would not play last Saturday against the Texans. This came after he told the media all week he was ready to play and would be on the field for the game.
Also per Holtzman, people within the organization were not happy about how Green was treated in Houston.
There are some unhappy people in the Bengals organization about how this AJ Green situation was handled. I'm told the offense had been preparing all week expecting Green to play and that neither the players nor the coaches knew anything different until last night. One source told me, "the rug got pulled out from under us." I was told the decision was made by ownership.
Holtzman also made it clear that Green isn’t “the least bit selfish”.
Here's what I've learned about AJ Green in talking with him over the last six years: he's a quietly competitive guy, and not the least bit selfish. I interviewed him at the Pro Bowl last January three weeks after the playoff loss to the Steelers and he was still fighting back tears. He cares. He lobbied to play this week for a team that's already been eliminated, then got upset when he was overruled at the last minute. I'm not sure how you criticize that.
He responded to Green’s statement today with this:
That game in Houston came on Christmas Eve, so it’s fair that Green (and others) would be upset by the team’s late decision on his status, which didn’t come until he was already in Texas on Christmas Eve day. Other players who were injured last week didn’t make the trip to Houston and were able to spend the holiday with their families. If the Bengals knew Green wasn’t going to play, he deserved to know sooner than he found out.
Of course Green, via a team spokesperson, would say publicly that he’s not unhappy with the team. Though, it’s actually somewhat surprising that the Bengals opted to address the rumors regarding Green and have their star wide receiver issue a brief statement on the situation. Green is a team player and has never given anyone a reason to believe he’d be someone to actually be angry with the team. He’s as far from a diva wide receiver as it gets.
Green had the right to be angered by the Bengals’ late call on his status in Houston, but right now, their decision to keep him out of Saturday’s game is solely based on his long-term health and not wanting him to aggravate or worsen his hamstring injury. That injury was originally suffered in Week 11 against the Bills and it cut short what could have been his best pro season. Green finishes the season with 66 receptions, 964 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Unfortunately, injuries happen in the NFL. You have to believe Green will bounce back next season with hopefully his actual best year with the Bengals.