A.J. Green isn't satisfied with his stature as a top five wide receiver in the National Football League. He wants to improve even further. This offseason, Green has been having Cliff Marshall, (former Performance Director at Ignition® APG, who’s now set to become the strength and conditioning coach for Indiana’s basketball team) a disciple of Bengals strength and conditioning coach Chip Morton, travel to Atlanta every week to coach him through a rigorous training program, per Bengals.com.
They worked four to five hours a day for four days at Kennesaw State to make sure the six-time Pro Bowler keeps adding to his numbers while taming the accumulating years. When Marshall suggested acquiring a device the Bengals use to stretch and soothe muscles, Green not only put down the sizeable check, but also paid to overnight it.
“He’s one of the best in the game and he’s not comfortable,” Marshall says. “A lot of guys when they get paid, they go L.A. Fitness and work out a couple of times a week. Well, he got paid, but he’s hungry. This guy wanted to get after it.”
You have to love Green's attitude and work ethic. Of course, every NFL player trains hard during the offseason, but Green, a top player at his position, just wants to get better and better, despite already being among the best.
“A.J. and I discussed as he gets older, he needs to invest in his body even more. I think he's done a great job up to this point. He gets it,” Marshall said. “He is always looking for a way to get better … Many NFL players during the off-season bounce from gym to gym from trainer to trainer and there's never a consistent effort to maximize their off-season gains.”
Green's work with Marshall includes prayer and reflection about life as a new father. They also have worked on strength, stamina, cardio, weight training, speed, agility, and hand-eye coordination.
“At some level it comes down to doing the right things at the right time of the year. It's more than just lifting weights and going out and running long distances in the offseason,” Marshall said. “There has to be a purpose for every drill in the weight room and on the field. I tried my best to explain to AJ what we were doing and why we were doing it every session.
“We all know what kind of quality, quality person A.J. is. He enjoys training. It’s an example of a player still learning. That’s a pro. ‘What do I need to do this year to improve my game?’”
What do you think of Green’s continued efforts of improvement?