A.J. Green Has No Emotions Going Back to Cincinnati
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver A.J. Green didn't have much to say about his time with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Before signing with the Arizona Cardinals in 2021, wide receiver A.J. Green was a star with the Cincinatti Bengals. He had five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons and became the only receiver in NFL history to begin a career with seven straight Pro-Bowl selections.
Fast forward to 2022, and Green doesn't have any feelings about going back to Cincinnati to play the Bengals, the team that advanced to the Super Bowl and lost in the first year without the veteran receiver.
"I don't," Green answered when asked if he had any emotions going back Friday night for the Cardinals' first preseason game. "I really don't. I played 10 seasons there (and) had a great time. I've still got really close friends who were a part of that organization. It's good to get to go back and see them. But there are no emotions right now."
Green played eight games during the 2018 and 2019 seasons combined due to injuries before his shaky 2020 campaign. There was uncertainty for Green when he signed a one-year deal with the Cardinals in 2021.
The veteran wideout led the Cardinals in yards per reception and registered 848 receiving yards on 54 receptions and three touchdowns in 16 games.
Along the way, quarterback Kyler Murray and Green had chemistry concerns. The most notable situation was against the Green Bay Packers. Trailing 24-21, Murray was leading a possible game-winning drive and threw a late-game interception into the end zone that was intended for Green, who never turned back to look for the ball.
It wasn't easy for Green when he arrived in Arizona last season. Now, he's much more relaxed in head coach Kliff Kingsbury's offense.
"I don't have anxiety going out to practice not knowing the playbook," Green said. "That's the biggest thing, (being) more comfortable to go out there and play freely. I had an OK year (in 2021) and I feel like we're scratching the surface because this year, I feel much more comfortable in this offense. I can just go out there and play without even really thinking about it."
Arizona released the depth chart on Aug. 8 based on who will be playing during the preseason game on Friday.
Green was listed as the No. 4 receiver behind Andy Isabella, Victor Bolden Jr. and Marquise Brown. It's unclear how many reps Green will garner, if any, against his former team.
For Green, it's about loosening up the players who are fighting for a roster spot.
"Keep the young guys relaxed. Just talk to them about opportunities. You're just not playing for this team. You're playing for 31 other teams and put your best tape out there. Even though it's not for this team, somebody else can see it," Green said.
You can see Green and the rest of the Cardinals on Friday when Arizona squares off against the Bengals at 4:30 p.m. Arizona time.