Greetings Who Dey Nation!
For our final roundtable in the A.J. Green series, we asked our staff if the recently-retired wideout will make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday.
It looked like a near-lock to happen for much of Green’s career, as he was undoubtedly one of the best receivers of his era.
However, injuries began taking their toll on Green, who ended up retiring sooner than you’d have thought when he was tearing up the league from 2011-17. After racking up 75 grabs for 1,078 yards and eight scores in 2017, Green would never hit the 1,000-yard mark again and missed a total of 23 games from 2018-19 due to injury.
So, will Green make it to Canton?
Unfortunately, no. While Green certainly belongs on the Bengals Ring of Honor, he’s not destined to be enshrined in Canton. His 10,514 yards are 44th all-time in the NFL, and his 70 touchdowns rank 49th. He also doesn’t have the all-important Super Bowl win. Had he played at a high level the last few years like he did over the first few of his career, and had he won a Super Bowl, it would possibly be a different story. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.
I know a lot of fans and those who cover the Bengals have already conceded that Green getting into Canton is a long shot, but I actually feel that there’s a resume to consider. Those seven Pro Bowls are nothing to scoff at and Green was one of the most dominant receivers of his era.
And, one can compare his stats to some already in Canton from yesteryear (John Stallworth, for instance) and Green comes out on top. Racking up 10,514 receiving yards and 70 touchdowns for a career is impressive any way you slice it.
The injuries towards the end of his career, the lack of that absolute monster season we’ve seen from Moss or Calvin Johnson, as well as both the lack of All-Pro nods and playoff success all heavily go against him (Stallworth racked up what would be an impressive full regular season by a receiver in his career postseason stats alone). Throw in a glut of deserving receivers from his and the previous decade and we are probably resigned to looking at the road a guy like Ken Riley had to endure.
However, Riley’s recent enshrinement also starts to open up a new avenue for many Bengals players. More attention to the team and as they potentially keep sustained high levels of success going forward continues to bring more attention to deserving candidates who may have otherwise gone overlooked “because it’s the Bengals”.
So, I think there’s a small chance that Green gets in way down the road, but probably unlikely. I’d still contend he’s deserving though, even with the obvious knocks.
This may depend on how the media views the franchise going forward. We could end up seeing two more Bengals in the Hall of Fame in the near future with Ken and Willie Anderson. There was a time when fans believed Anthony Munoz was the only one who’d ever get in. Things have changed for the better, but that doesn’t change how the Hall views receivers. It’s a log-jammed position, and despite A.J. being one of the top two or three receivers at his peak, I don’t think he has the playoff success or sustained dominance to eventually make it to Canton. If it does happen, it will happen many years in the future, and this post may not even be accessible by then. But I don’t care. Put him in the Ring of Honor within the next five years, and I’ll be satisfied.
Yes. A.J. Green made the Pro Bowl seven times. Consider this fact: Every eligible receiver with seven Pro Bowls is in the Hall of Fame. During his career with the Bengals and the Cardinals, Green appeared in 158 NFL games. He recorded 727 receptions for 10,514 receiving yards and 70 touchdowns.
But he is certainly not a shoo-in. There are currently 29 wide receivers in the Hall of Fame. Green ranks 44th all-time among all receivers in yards, 51st in receptions, and is tied for 49th in touchdowns. But, personally, I think being one of the nicest guys in football counts for something.
I, unfortunately, don’t think so. Wide receiver is a flooded position when it comes to the HOF as it is. Couple that with never being a part of even a playoff win in Cincinnati, I don’t think he makes the cut. If he does, it would be years and years down the line. I would accept his induction into the Bengals Ring of Honor immediately.