A.J. Green is all smiles heading into the 2020 NFL season, and a large reason for his elation is Joe Burrow. With the first-overall pick in this year's draft, the Cincinnati Bengals made the expected decision to select the best football player in the country, who was also fresh off of a season that saw him with both the Heisman and a national championship. Burrow steps in with a mountain of expectations heaved upon his young shoulders, as the team officially moves on from the era of Andy Dalton, but Green believes the pressure won't faze him much.
As the seven-time Pro Bowl wide receiver looks to re-establish himself as one of the best at the position following another season wherein he battled injury that left him sidelined, he's looking forward to what catching passes from Burrow might mean for both him and the Bengals as a whole. From potential to persona, Green is all-in on his new quarterback.
"A lot of people don't want quarterbacks to be that fired up, but I feel like he's going to bring to us the same energy he brought to LSU," Green told media, via the Cincinnati Enquirer. "I know the type of player he is. I know he's a dog for a fact. I'm excited to play with him and I can't wait to get back out there."
Green officially signed his franchise tag that will pay him $18 million this coming season, making him the No. 1 target for the rookie quarterback in 2020. He's recently stated his goal is to retire a Bengal, but after failing to come to terms on a long-term deal ahead of the July 15 deadline, those talks are now tabled until after the season. This does give the 31-year-old time to prove he can remain durable going forward, having missed all of the 2019 season with an ankle injury suffered last July, and another seven games in 2019 due to struggles with a toe injury that landed him on injured reserve.
Hoping to dispel the injury-prone narrative, he'll need to hit the ground running (and keep running) in 2020, and the three-time All-Pro doesn't believe it'll take long for things to come together in tandem with Burrow.
"A lot of people play into the (narrative of) 'how long does it take to get clicking," Green said. "We're all football players doing this for a long time. [Andy Dalton] and I came in in 2011 and we went 9-7, and we didn't have any kind of expectations. I feel like when you have the No. 1 pick, and what we did in free agency and me coming back, [Tyler Boyd] is coming back, John [Ross], Tee [Higgins] and all these pieces that we added on defense, I feel like the talent level that we have now is way different than what we had in 2011."
And what's more, when it all comes down to the guy throwing the ball, Green has no concerns over first-year jitters.
"Everything I'm hearing about him -- he's a smart guy, and I feel like he can handle all this," he said of Burrow. "He's played at the biggest level, so for him, just go out there and play his game."