Shortly after Cincinnati Bengals wideout A.J. Green returned to the practice field for the first time since July, head coach Zac Taylor was definitive that the seven-time Pro Bowler won’t be moved at the Oct. 29 trade deadline.
“I’ve heard the speculation,” Taylor said Thursday. “We are not trading that guy. He’s a big part of this organization, and we have a lot of belief that when he gets back, he’s gonna really help us.”
Green, who appeared very limited at Thursday’s practice as he works back from a July 27 ankle injury, will not play this week at the Baltimore Ravens. But he could make his season debut next week when the Jacksonville Jaguars visit.
Currently in the final year of his contract, Green had acknowledged the rumors in a story published early Thursday on the team’s website.
“I tell everybody I haven’t heard anything,” Green said. “I don’t fantasize about anything like that. I’m just trying to get healthy and go from there.
“… I’m prepared for anything. A trade’s not going to change who I am. I’m still going to play. I’m still going to be A.J.”
The 31-year-old added that he doesn’t feel the urge to jump to a winning team, touting his loyalty to the team that drafted him fourth overall in 2011.
“That’s just not who I am. I’m loyal to the person who gave me my shot,” Green said of the Bengals.
Cincinnati cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick told The Athletic earlier this week that everything would “fall apart” if Green were dealt.
“Bro, that better not happen. Period. It better not happen,” Kirkpatrick said. “… I feel like it’s going to fall apart. You can’t do it. You can’t do it, man. That’s our best player on the team. He’s not even out there. So, we don’t even know what we got, how the team really looks. They can’t do that.”
The Bengals are 0-5 under Taylor, who is in his first year as a head coach.
According to the team’s website, the Bengals were in discussions with Green about a new contract over the summer, but those talks were put on hold once the wideout was hurt.
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)