Kevin Durant is A.J. Green’s favorite active basketball player. The two are good friends. Durant left Oklahoma City in pursuit of a ring. Two titles later, the NBA superstar is now on his third NBA team. When Durant bolted for Brooklyn, he sent Green a brand new Nets jersey. Green might be returning the favor in the not so distant future.
This Sunday could be Green’s 127th and final regular-season game in a Bengals uniform. The one-year franchise tag tender Green signed in July is set to expire at the end of the season. He is headed toward unrestricted free agency and is yearning for a multi-year deal.
“Anything is possible. It’s just another opportunity for me. I’m not really thinking about my last game. I’m at a point in my career where I played for a long time. I just want to go out there and put my best foot forward,” Green said on Thursday. “Whatever happens after the season is already in God’s plans. I’m not really worried about what’s going to happen.”
Coming off a nagging toe injury in 2018 and an ankle injury that cost him all of 2019, Green’s had a subpar season by his standards.
He’s turned into the team’s third option on the outside. He ranks third on the Bengals in targets (98), catches (47) and receiving yards (523) entering the season finale. He’s destined to end the year with the fewest amount of catches, receiving yards and touchdown receptions that he’s had in any season in which he’s played at least 10 games.
Green ranks second in franchise history in most major receiving categories. The 32-year-old enters Sunday on the heels of former Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson’s all-time touchdown reception record. He’s compiled 649 catches for 9,430 receiving yards and 65 touchdown receptions all with the Bengals.
The veteran is inching closer to Bengals franchise records every game and will certainly have a good opportunity to etch his name atop the record books if he signs another multi-year extension in Cincinnati. But Green’s indicated that winning is more important to him at this juncture of his career.
“For me, it’s just continuing to want to win, enjoy football and go out there and play,” Green said. “I’m blessed. I can’t believe how fast it went by. This is my 10th season and it’s been a blessing, definitely. These last two years I’ve been hurt but I wouldn’t trade those moments for anything. They’ve made me a better person, a better football player and a better man.”
The Bengals are in the process of a rebuild and figure to be a couple of years away from contending in the AFC North division. Green’s declared multiple times that he enjoys playing football in the Queen City. However, his desire to win supersedes his satisfaction of playing in Cincinnati.
The opportunity to win now will play a pivotal role in Green’s looming decision.
Green told The Enquirer that he plans on catching up with his good buddy Durant after the NFL season. The Nets superstar might give him guidance on what it’s like to pursue a ring with a contender.
Durant has firsthand experience. The basketball superstar left Oklahoma City for Golden State in the summer of 2016 and is now playing with another title contender in the Nets.
Durant announced the first time he changed franchises as “My next chapter.” What will happen in Green’s next chapter is to be determined. However, we do know Green desires the final portion of his book to include wins.
“I had great times here. If this is my last game, I had an unbelievable 10 years here. Wouldn't trade it for anything in the world,” Green said. “It's just another chapter in my book to where I can go out there and continue to play football, whether it's here or somewhere else. I really don't get caught up in this is my last game. I had a great time here, if this is my last time. I just look at it as another opportunity, if it's here or somewhere else, just to continue to live my dream and play football.”