There is no love lost between Pittsburgh Steelers fans and the Cincinnati Bengals, but that doesn’t mean that every player on their roster has to be demonized. Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green has been one of the ‘good guys’ especially in relation to the rest of his team. He’s a quiet, unassuming, talented, productive, and generally ego-free player.
But that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have high ambitions. The former fourth-overall pick in 2011, as he hits the age of 30, is not bashful about the fact that his intention is to make it to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He wants to play through the age of 36 and then re-evaluate where he is, and he believes that if he is able to do that, he will accomplish his goal.
Yet the eighth-year wide receiver, despite reaching the Pro Bowl in every season, has yet to be named to the All-Pro team. Or the first-team All-Pro, anyway. He was on the second team in 2012 and 2013, but he has never been regarded as one of the top receivers in any one given season up to this point in his career.
Green has been a virtual model of consistency, but has not really had many incredible seasons. His most impressive years, statistically, came in 2012 and 2013. He caught 11 touchdowns in each of those years, with 97 and 98 receptions, respectively. He totaled 1350 yards in 2013 and topped out at a career-high 1426 the year after.
Though he caught eight touchdown passes last season, he knows that he is coming off something of a down season for him, catching only 75 passes for 1078 yards despite playing in and starting every game. That is a very solid season for most, but not for him.
“Having that great season, coming out getting hurt, and then not having a good; the season I wanted last year – it’s just the way it is”, he said. “I know the work I put in every summer and I can live with the results”.
The wide receiver was referring to the 2016 season in which he had nearly 1000 receiving yards by his 10th game, but suffered a season-ending injury. He finished the year with 964 yards in 10 games, the only season to date in which he did not cross the 1000-yard mark.
In his first seven NFL seasons, Green has caught 556 passes for 8213 yards and 57 touchdowns. While he has about half the receptions as Antonio Brown and falls over 1500 yards short, he is only two touchdowns behind the perennial All-Pro.