TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — A.J. Green spent the better part of a decade in Cincinnati as the team’s premier pass catcher and he’s got seven Pro Bowl appearances to prove it.
Now the 32-year-old is in Arizona, where he’ll be playing next to Cardinals star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and versatile young quarterback Kyler Murray. Instead of the main man, he’ll just be one of the guys.
And honestly, that doesn’t sound too bad to him at all.
“I’m going to get a lot of one on ones,” Green said on Thursday, letting loose a small laugh. “I’m very excited about that.”
The Cardinals announced Wednesday that Green was coming to the desert on a one-year deal worth around $8 million. The receiver missed the entire 2019 season because of an ankle injury and his production was down in 2020 as the Bengals struggled to a 4-11-1 record.
He hopes a change of scenery can get him back to his old form.
“I feel like I have a lot left in the tank,” Green said. “I still feel young. My legs feel young. Last year was a difficult year for me playing with three different quarterbacks and coming off an injury. But I wouldn’t change that for anything in the world. I think that made me a better person on the field, mentally stronger.
“I feel like I’ve got a lot more years in me playing at a high level.”
The Cardinals have loaded up on quality veterans for a second straight offseason in an effort to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 2015. On the same day Green’s deal was announced, Arizona also added three-time Pro Bowl center Rodney Hudson and two-time Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater.
Those moves came a few weeks after the Cardinals made their biggest splash, signing three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year J.J. Watt.
The one big remaining question mark for Arizona’s offseason is the future of veteran receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who is still deciding whether to come back for an 18th season. Green has been friends with Fitzgerald for years and said that “Larry is Arizona,” but added that he hasn’t put any pressure on his buddy to return.
“It’d be an honor but he’s been playing this game for a long time,” Green said. “So whatever he decides, whatever happens. Because I know I’ll be seeing him around here.”
For now, Green’s just soaking in the feeling of being on a Cardinals team that’s made no secret it intends to win now. Arizona finished 8-8 last season, losing five of its last seven games to fall just short of the playoffs.
Cincinnati made the playoffs during Green’s first five seasons but lost in the wild-card round every year. The Bengals finished below .500 in each of his final five years.
“In my search for my next team, it’s always about winning,” Green said. “Playing for a winning team and playing in meaningful football games in January and February. I think that’s the main goal — winning a championship.”
Follow David Brandt at www.twitter.com/davidbrandtAP
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL