Bengals dispel A.J. Green trade rumors

CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 2: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

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CINCINNATI, OH - DECEMBER 2: A.J. Green #18 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the first quarter of the game against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium on December 2, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals coach Zac Taylor said the team is not looking to trade A.J. Green, and the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver confirmed Friday he would like to stay put.

Green, at age 31, is in the final year of his contract, but negotiations are underway for a potential new deal, Taylor confirmed during his press conference earlier this week.

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With the Bengals sitting at 0-5 and unlikely to make the playoffs this season, many have speculated the organization could benefit from trading some of their top players to start building for the future. Taylor told reporters Thursday after practice that Green remains a part of Cincinnati’s future. The trade deadline is Oct. 29.

“I hear a lot of the speculation on him,” Taylor said in an interview posted on Twitter by ESPN.com’s Ben Baby. “We are not trading that guy. He’s a big part of this organization, and we have a lot of belief in him that when he gets back he’s going to really help us.”

Green hasn’t even had a full practice in Taylor’s system yet, as he was limited throughout the offseason and then injured his ankle the first day of training camp.

The team’s 2011 first-round draft pick put on full pads Thursday for the first time since July 27, and he participated in individual position drills for about 30 minutes before retiring to the rehab field as the media-allowed portion of practice ended. Wednesday was the first day he tried sprinting.

Green told reporters after practice Friday the plan is for him to run some routes before the game Sunday at Baltimore with hopes he can return Week 7 vs. Jacksonville, if the ankle responds well to the workout.

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In terms of trade speculation, Green tries not to pay attention to it.

"I'd just like to stay here," Green told The Athletic. "They value me. Nobody is going to value you as much as the place you got drafted at. It's home."

A third contract with the Bengals could solidify Green as the team’s all-time leading receiver. He told Bengals.com that he’s “prepared for anything” and that a trade wouldn’t change him, but he would like to finish his career in one spot.

“It’s not about the money — I’ve got enough money,” Green said, according to ESPN.com. “I just want to make sure that I’m healthy and then everything else will take care of itself.”

Taylor has been saying for weeks the team is “going to turn things around with the guys in this locker room,” which would indicate the Bengals aren’t looking to make any trades. However, the Bengals have a policy that their player personnel department is not available for interviews during the season, so director Duke Tobin declined an interview request to discuss how the team will approach the trade deadline.

Several other Bengals players also have been mentioned as potential trade targets, including defensive linemen Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins, tight end Tyler Eifert and 2018 first-round draft pick Billy Price, who has been a backup guard and center this season but is expected to start Sunday at left guard.

Dunlap said earlier this week he “wouldn’t be surprised” if his name came up in trade conversations.

“This is a business,” Dunlap said. “They’re going to do what’s best for them in the business. … At the end of the day, you’ve got to take care of what you can control. Right now, I’m a Cincinnati Bengal and I want to be the best Bengal in Bengals history.”

Taylor said Monday he’s not evaluating the talent now any differently than he has in the past. His focus is on trying to win games now, and if that’s still the goal, it’s no wonder Green is off the trading block.

“It’s (about) trying to win a game this week,” he said. “That’s the emphasis right now. We want to win. We all want to win, and we’re willing to do what it takes to win. It might be hard to believe, but I haven’t seen a change from anybody in the locker room that has a different approach, or a different agenda. We’re all on the same page here, so we’re going to do whatever it takes to win this game.”


SUNDAY’S GAME

Bengals at Ravens, 1 p.m., WHIO-TV Ch. 7, Ch. 12, 700, 1530, 102.7, 104.7

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