The sight of Tom Brady donning anything other than Patriots’ navy blue was perceived unfathomable not so long ago — some might even say repulsive. Brady spent each of his first 20 NFL seasons in Foxborough, carving out a surefire Hall of Fame career for himself in the midst. However, all good things ultimately come to an end, and Brady’s tenure with the Pats was no different.
Veteran wide receiver A.J. Green is in a similar boat. The former No. 4 overall selection back in 2011, the seven-time Pro Bowler has spent the past 10 seasons as a member of the Cincinnati Bengals. That all changed recently when Green inked a one-year, $8.5 million ($6 million guaranteed) deal to join the Arizona Cardinals.
After four consecutive losing seasons and a handful of injuries, Green is hoping that a move to the Desert can help revitalize his career in a similar fashion to Brady’s move to the Sunshine State.
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A.J. Green: ‘I Have a Lot Left in the Tank’
“Coming to Arizona is refreshing,” said Green, via the Cardinals’ official website. “You look around the league at Tom Brady and all these other guys that have been in these same places for years, and you saw what Tom Brady did last year. I think it’s good.”
After a lost 2019 season due to an ankle injury, Green returned to the Bengals lineup in 2020, appearing in all 16 games (14 starts). However, despite a clean bill of health, Green failed to live up to his past elite production, posting career-lows in receptions (47), yards (523) and touchdowns (two) — all while receiving the third-most targets amongst Bengals pass catchers (104).
Green’s down 2020 campaign has some questioning whether he can still be the dominant outside presence that we grew so accustomed to seeing over the years in Cincinnati. Yet, don’t fear Cardinals fans, as Green clearly doesn’t bunch himself in that group.
“I feel like I have a lot left in the tank,” Green said. “I still feel young. The legs feel young. Last year was a difficult year for me, playing with the different quarterbacks and coming off an injury. But I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. That made me a better person on the field, mentally stronger. I know I feel like I’ve got a lot more years left in me playing at a high level.”
Green Talks Larry Fitzgerald
One could argue that the addition of Green gives Arizona one of the league’s more talented receiving corps in all of football. Yet, what one can’t argue is the lasting star power the team has at the position. With Green, DeAndre Hopkins and Larry Fitzgerald (barring retirement) in the fold, the team has three legitimate Hall of Fame-worthy pass catchers at their disposal.
As for Fitzgerald, Green revealed that he didn’t touch base with the Cardinals’ all-time leading receiver before signing with the team, but that he’s certain that Fitzgerald will have his back no matter what.
“I never even asked him about the situation or told him about this,” Green said. “I just want to keep the business side out of it with Larry. He loves this place. Larry is Arizona. I knew once I signed I would talk to him. He wants the best for me. He’s like a big brother to me. Whatever happens, I’m going to have Larry in my corner no matter what.”
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