There’s no denying that AJ Green was always one of the best receivers of his time. Will it be enough to get him to Canton?
Greetings, Dey Nation!
For our final roundtable in the AJ Green series, we asked our staff if the recently retired wideout will one day make it into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
It looked like a near suspension for much of Green’s career as he was undoubtedly one of the best receivers of his time.
However, the injuries took their toll on Green, who retired earlier than expected while tearing up the league from 2011-2017. After 75 grabs for 1,078 yards and eight scores in 2017, Green never reached the 1,000-yard mark again and missed 23 games through 2018-19 through injury.
So will Green make it to Canton?
Unfortunately, not. While Green certainly belongs in the Bengals’ ring of honor, he’s not destined to be anchored in Canton. His 10,514 yards is 44th all-time in the NFL, and his 70 touchdowns rank 49th. He also doesn’t have the all-important Super Bowl win. Had he played at the level he did in the early years of his career in recent years and had he won a Super Bowl, it might be a different story. Unfortunately that was not the case.
I know a lot of fans and those who cover the Bengals have already conceded that bringing Green to Canton is a long road, but I actually feel like there’s a resume to consider. Those seven Pro Bowls are nothing to scoff at, and Green was one of the most dominant receivers of his day.
And you can compare his stats to those who were already in Canton yesterday (e.g. John Stallworth) and Green comes out on top. Racking up 10,514 yards and 70 touchdowns for a career is impressive by any measure.
Injuries towards the end of his career, lack of that absolute monster season we’ve seen from Moss or Calvin Johnson, and lack of All-Pro nods and playoff success all weigh heavily against him (Stallworth has amassed what would be an impressive full regular season of a receiver alone in their post-season career stats). Throw in a spate of deserving recipients from his decade and the previous one, and we’ll probably settle for looking down the road a guy like Ken Riley had to endure.
However, Riley’s recent anchoring is also beginning to open a new path for many Bengals players. More attention to the team, and as they may continue to maintain a consistently high level of success in the future, more attention will be given to deserving candidates who might otherwise have been overlooked “because it’s the Bengals.”
So, I think there’s a small chance Green will come down the road, but probably unlikely. I would still argue that he deserves it, even with the obvious beatings.
This may depend on how the media views the future of the franchise. We could see two more Bengals in the Hall of Fame in the near future with Ken and Willie Anderson. There was a time when fans believed Anthony Munoz was the only one who would ever get in. Things have changed for the better, but that doesn’t change how the hall views recipients. It’s a deadlock position, and while AJ is one of the top two or three receivers at his peak, I don’t think he has the playoff success or sustained dominance to eventually make it to Canton. When it happens, it will happen many years in the future and this post may not even be accessible until then. But I do not care. Put him in the ring of honor within the next five years and I’ll be happy.
Yes. AJ Green made it to the Pro Bowl seven times. Consider this fact: Every eligible recipient with seven Pro Bowls is in the Hall of Fame. During his career with the Bengals and Cardinals, Green appeared in 158 NFL games. He recorded 727 receptions for 10,514 receiving yards and 70 touchdowns.
But he’s certainly no shoo-in. There are currently 29 wide receivers in the Hall of Fame. Green ranks 44th all-time among all receivers in yards, 51st in receptions, and 49th in touchdowns. But personally I think there’s something about being one of the nicest guys in football.
Unfortunately I don’t think so. Wide receiver is a swamped position when it comes to HOF as it is. Add to that the fact that he’s never been in a Cincinnati playoff win and I don’t think he’ll make it. If he does, it would take years and years. I would accept his induction into the Bengals Ring of Honor immediately.