Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is, according to his head coach, fully healthy. That is pretty significant news considering he hadn’t been for the past year and a half or so. The perennial Pro Bowler never fully recovered from a foot injury suffered in 2018 by the time he was injured again on the first day of training camp in 2019, which resulting in him missing the entire season.
Green, who had just completed a long-term extension, was given the franchise tag by the Bengals this year. A year ago, he had made negative comments about the prospect of being given the franchise tag, though given his health status, he doesn’t have much room to quibble.
“Everything’s been positive with A.J.”, Zac Taylor told reporters yesterday on a conference call. Going into his second season as head coach, Taylor has yet to even see Green play, since he missed the entirety of his first season with the team.
“He’s fully healthy and working hard”, he added.
Green was the fourth-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, and he proved to be a model of consistency year in and year out before injuries began to get the better of him over the span of the past four seasons. He has missed about 30 games in that span, but when he is on the field, he has continued to be productive.
He only managed to play half a season in 2018, but that year, he caught 46 passes for 694 yards and six touchdowns. So basically, double those numbers to prorate what he was on pace to do had he been able to stay healthy.
The year before that, he did manage to stay healthy, and he caught 75 passes for 1078 yards and eight touchdowns. In just 10 games in 2017, he caught 66 passes for 964 yards. He has also scored at least 10 touchdowns in a season three different times in his career.
While he was drafted along with Andy Dalton at quarterback in the following round, it is clear which of the duo was most responsible for, at least temporarily, clawing the team out of the bottom of the basement. The Bengals went to the playoff for five straight seasons to begin their careers together, a first in franchise history.
Dalton remains on the team, but is vulnerable. The Bengals are expected to draft Joe Burrow as they hold the first-overall pick, and the nine-year veteran could be traded, either prior to the draft or after it. If they don’t trade him, then it would make more sense to keep him rather than releasing him.