The Cincinnati Bengals have a long and storied history of great wide receivers.
From Isaac Curtis and Cris Collinsworth to the Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh duo to the new duo of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, there is no shortage of talented receivers with big personalities that helped put the Bengals on the map.
No story about the Bengals receivers could ever be complete, though, without an entire section dedicated to Adriel Jeremiah Green.
A.J. Green, selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Georgia, was the first drafted player in Marvin Lewis’ second rebuild of the franchise. Together with quarterback Andy Dalton, Green led the Bengals to a level of unprecedented success, culminating in five straight seasons with a playoff berth.
Unfortunately, none of those playoff games ended with the final score in the Bengals' favor, but there is no doubt that when Green left the team after the 2019 season, he left it better than he found it.
On Saturday, Green, who is in town to be the Ruler of the Jungle at the team’s 2023 home opener against the Baltimore Ravens, signed a one-day contract so he could officially retire as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals.
A.J. Green has officially retired as a Bengal.— Cincinnati Bengals (@Bengals) September 16, 2023
WHO DEY! pic.twitter.com/IyWlHxOixM
While Johnson helped make the Bengals popular all around the country with his end zone celebrations and his general outspokenness, Green came to Cincinnati and spent the first 10 years of his career letting his play do all the talking. He finished his time in Cincinnati as the second-leading receiver in franchise history with 9,430 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns, and will absolutely be enshrined on the Bengals Ring of Honor one day. Some believe he should be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It’s ironic the Bengals had some of their most successful seasons after Green’s departure for the Arizona Cardinals. He harbors no ill will, though, stating that he and the Bengals departed on good terms and he wants them to win.
“We didn’t leave on bad terms. It was just every good thing has to end, and I understood the business side of football. They took care of me for 10 years, and a lot of people don’t last 10 years in one spot, so I’m very honored to last that long in one organization. They were the first organization that gave me my chance, and they’re just great people,” Green said of the Bengals during an interview with Dan Hoard.
“The Brown family are great people, man, and they handled all my situations, even when I got hurt. It was always out of respect. And the least I can do is come back and be a fan. I just want that organization to win.”
Green helped lead a shift in culture for the Bengals. After Carson Palmer’s forced departure, it seemed the Bengals could regress and head back to where they were before Palmer and Lewis took the reins in the early 2000s.
Instead, Green helped lead the Bengals to new heights. Those heights built the stable foundation on which the current Super Bowl contending roster stands tall.