A.J. Green frustrated, but wants to be in Cincinnati

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green (18) walks off the field after being injured in the second half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Cincinnati, Sunday, Oct. 4, 2020. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: AP

Credit: AP

A.J. Green admits he is frustrated, but denies interest in being traded.

The Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver spoke to media Thursday for the first time since he was caught on camera expressing frustration to a staff member on the sideline Sunday in the third quarter at Baltimore.

Fans attempting to lip-read speculated that he was saying “if you’re not going to use me, just trade me.”

“I don’t know if that’s accurate,” Green said Thursday. “I think they’re just trying to reach for something—if you’re a professional lip reader. I was talking to EB (director of player relations Eric Ball) so I don’t think whatever came out … People are going to say whatever.”

Green said he was just frustrated in a lot of things with the team losing and disappointment in his own play. He even went as far as to call himself out for “loafing” on the intercepted pass thrown his direction and for being seen vocalizing his feelings.

Asked specifically if he still wants to be in Cincinnati after the Nov. 3 trade deadline, Green said “of course.”

“Why not?” he questioned. “I think we’re building something special here and I just want to be a part of the team and help us win.”

Green’s conversation shown on the TV broadcast came as he was sitting out with a hamstring issue that prevented him from returning. He said the injury – which he was dealing with in training camp – flared up after he lost his footing on a hitch route and felt something pull. It is not expected to keep him from playing this week at Indianapolis.

Trainers worked on him after the game Sunday and he got treatment Monday and Tuesday before getting back on the field Wednesday in limited fashion. He was expected to be a full participant Thursday.

Green missed the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury, and he is playing on a one-year franchise tag this season worth $18.2 million after he and the team failed to reach a long-term deal in the offseason. His production is down significantly through five games this season, catching only 14 of 34 targets for 119 yards and no touchdowns while playing in coach Zac Taylor’s system for the first time.

“For me just getting involved,” Green said. “Just little things, man. I think we’re all frustrated with the way we’re playing. We’re way better than what we’re putting on tape. For us and for me I just gotta channel that frustration and keep playing like I have for the past couple years.”

The 10th-year veteran said he still feels a little rusty coming back from such a long absence and trying to learn the new system, which has led to some of his frustration.

Green understands why some might project a rift between him and Taylor, but both have been adamant they maintain a good relationship.

“For me, I’m just a competitor,” Green said. “When you put all that work into the week and things don’t go the way we planned, it gets frustrating. We’re both competitors. I just lost it a little bit. I’m definitely not myself when I’m out there like that. Me and Zac had a great conversation. He understands my frustration. We had a good conversation. I think that’s the biggest thing for us is keeping that line of communication open.”

According to NFL NextGen Stats, Green and rookie quarterback Joe Burrow have the lowest total expected points added of any quarterback-receiver tandem in the league.

Green said he talks with Burrow, and they put in extra work together on the field trying to build their chemistry but he doesn’t want to give the young quarterback the impression he has to start forcing anything to get him the ball.

** The Bengals placed defensive end Sam Hubbard on Injured Reserve due to an elbow injury suffered in Sunday’s game vs. Baltimore.

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