A.J. Green’s return has been a long time coming.
It was speculated that he would be able to return after missing a few regular season games after suffering an ankle injury during the team’s first training camp practice. We all soon found out the injury was much more serious than that as the deadline kept getting pushed back until it was determined that Week 10 was probably the safest time.
Some in the national media and even fans wondered if Green’s prolonged absence had anything to do with possible trade rumors or contract negotiations. This was despite Green telling anyone who would listen that he planned to be in Cincinnati for the long term.
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, Green again confirmed what he’s been saying all along, according to Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic.
Just got done with an interview with A.J. Green. A lot to unpack (and that’s coming).— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) October 30, 2019
- He’s ready to play. Aiming for Baltimore
- Ready to ball out and this team wouldn’t be 0-8 with him healthy
- Understands biz of AD decision
- Does NOT want to be franchised
This is some big news as the Andy Dalton benching could’ve really had an impact on Greens’ willingness to return. After all, both players came into the league together in 2011, and Green has undoubtedly been Dalton’s biggest supporter throughout his time in Cincinnati. This erases any doubt of Green possibly holding out or demanding out of Cincinnati.
It also sounds like there’s a good chance we see Green back on the field when the Bengals host the Ravens in Week 10.
The not wanting to be franchised tagged also makes sense for Green. He will be 32-years-old by the start of next season on a team that is rebuilding. This could also be Green’s last big opportunity at a payday for his career.
Now that the team missed its opportunity to possibly get something in return for their star receiver, the team has to commit to a multi-year contract with Green. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing for a team that is obviously desperate for offensive threats. Green also confirms that contract negations are back on.
Green also said when he got hurt it was his decision to hit the brakes on contract negotiations. Sides talking again now. Reiterated he wants to be in Cincinnati long term. Just really doesn’t want to be franchised.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) October 30, 2019
Some fans who are looking for a full blown rebuild are probably frustrated by this, but by retaining Green for the long term, the team is securing veteran leadership that should help this team get through whatever rough patches lay ahead of them. He should also be a valuable weapon and resource for whatever young offensive players are brought in over the next few seasons.