A.J. Green Press Conference Transcript


Initial comments:
"We're obviously excited to have been able to pick A.J. yesterday, and for him to travel in here today. He's had a busy last 24 hours, and obviously he has a busy schedule here, then he'll head back to New York to finish up some things and responsibilities that he has there. So it's been a whirlwind tour for him. We obviously had exposure to meet with A.J. back in Indianapolis, our coaches spent some time with him in Athens, and he came back here and spent some time with us. We're really just so excited about him being there when it was our turn to turn in the card."


Initial comments:AG: "I'm just happy to be here. It's a blessing to get picked by the Cincinnati Bengals. I'm just ready to get to work."

In your opinion, what is your best skill?AG: "I think it would be my ability to separate, and my hands. I feel like my hands are second to none. I feel like I still have a long way to go to get to where I want to be in this league. Like I said, I've just got to keep working."

Can you talk about what the last 15 hours have been like? Were you able to get any sleep?AG: "Not really. These last couple weeks, I didn't sleep. I'm a country (guy), and it was my first time in New York City and I had a whole bunch of family up there. I had a bunch of activities I was involved with, and even spending time on them was an unbelievable experience. Just to be in that green room and in New York City with some of the best athletes in the world ... I'm glad it's over now, and now I can really just focus on what I need to do, and that's to play football."

This upcoming season will be the fourth different quarterback in four years to throw to you. What's that been like and can you talk about how you've adjusted the last three years to all of the changes?AG: "It wasn't tough at all. I feel like if you want to be that guy and that best receiver, you have to make do with whatever you've got. That's what I've done over these three years. I went from having a first-round pick (Matthew Stafford) to a couple of undrafted quarterbacks. That's something I can't control, the quarterback situation. All I can control is what's on the field, and that's to catch the ball whenever it's thrown to me."

What are some of your strengths? What are your weaknesses?AG: "I think some of my strengths are my hands and the way I can separate in and out of my breaks, along with how big I am. Some of my weaknesses are I don't read coverages as well, sometimes. That's going to be a learning curve coming in to the next level because some of the defenses are so complex. You really have to know what everybody's doing. That's going to be something I'll have to work on."

How good of a blocker do you think you are?AG: "I block OK. I feel like I still can get better. I don't go out there and block every play like I (can). But I feel like I can still get better in that area."

Have you heard from any of the guys on this team?AG: "No. Chad (Ochocinco) tweeted me a few times. Oh yeah, Rey Maualuga tweeted me and said, 'Don't come across the middle'."

You've been highly touted since high school. How did that help shape your personality?AG: "I've been the same guy since day one. No matter how successful I am in life, I'm going to stay true to myself and stay humble and grounded. I feel like that's where your success comes from. Once you get that big head, it's over. You feel like you can't be stopped. Staying humble is the only way you can be great."

Was there a certain person who taught you that lesson?AG: "My family in general. I'm a big family guy. My mom and Dad are a big part of my life. I have a big family, but I'm an only child. I have a lot of aunts and uncles who keep me grounded and don't let me get that big head."

Has anyone ever pulled you aside when you've gotten out of that zone?AG: "Yeah, you know, being a kid you do crazy stuff. But I never went so crazy that they had to tell me. I know what they expect out of me. One thing I hate doing is disappointing my mom. That's the worst thing in life I could do."

You had some adversity at Georgia when you served a four-game suspension. What went through your mind when you went through that process?AG: "That was one of the turning points in my life. I never got in trouble or anything like that, but I feel like it humbled me even more because my whole season could have been gone. I really sat back and thought, 'OK, I have to make a smarter decision next time.' When it comes to family, as long as I'm OK, they're OK. If they see me down then they'll get down, but they were behind me 100 percent. I took that to heart and went to work every day and said, 'When I come back, I'm going to come back ready.' "

Football is a pretty big deal at Georgia. I'm sure you had people fawning all over you. After being the No. 4 pick, how do you stay down-to-earth?AG: "It comes from my foundation, which is how I got here — staying humble and grounded, (having) the ability to not let things bother me, and staying true to myself."

You dominated your first game back from your four-game suspension ...AG: "Those four weeks went by so slow. When I came back I was thinking, 'I'm going to make somebody pay, regardless (of who it is).' I just went out and practiced hard and told my coach, 'I'm not going to miss a beat.' I had a great game."

How important was it to start off fast in that game?AG: "It was a big deal. I missed four games, so I only had eight left. I couldn't take a game off. I had to have that fast start in order to finish strong."

Your new offensive coordinator, Jay Gruden, said he was going to go mark up 20 new plays after yesterday evening's press conference. Have you talked to him yet?AG: "No, not yet. I don't know if I'm a good Christmas present because I'm back at square one. I hope I can give him a good Christmas present by playing even better on the field. But, like I said, I'm back at square one."

Have you set any personal goals for this season?AG: "I take goals as they come. I'm going to work hard each and every week. I don't even have to catch a ball as long as we are winning. The stats are going to come as we win."

How much pressure do you feel as a top-five draft pick, given the success of other top picks?AG: "I don't feel any pressure because I don't pay attention to all of the outside stuff. I can control what I do on the field. Coming is as one of the top receivers with Julio Jones, I just took it all with a grain of salt. I'm just equal to everyone else that goes to the next level. I'm equal to the seventh-round pick because I have to prove myself like they have to. I'm just going to go out there and work everyday."

Will the transition to the NFL be easier because of how tough the competition is in the SEC?AG: "I think it will be a little easier because we are playing against the top competition in practice. Week in and week out, you're going against some of the best cornerbacks, like Patrick Patterson and Jimmy Smith. You're going against some guys that you will see at the next level. But there is nothing like the NFL. They are grown men, and you are still going to have to work. There's nothing you can do to prepare for what you are going to walk into."

Is there any significance with No. 18?AG: "No. I think it will look good."

Is there anybody you've watched who had a number in the teens?AG: "Not really. I just like teen numbers."

Was 18 a good year in your life?AG: "I guess. It's just another number. Twenty-one would probably be best."

Did you feel any extra pressure coming out of the NFL combine, given Julio Jones' workout?AG: "No, I didn't feel any pressure. I knew what I could do and the numbers I was going to put up. I was comfortable with that. Julio had a great combine, but that was him. We're two different guys. What I do in the field will show the numbers really didn't matter."

What do you know about the quarterback situation here?AG: "Nothing. I don't know. I really don't know. It's not in my control."

Is there any NFL wide receiver that you pattern your game after?AG: "There isn't one wide receiver that I pattern my game after. I take their best attributes and try to apply it to my game. Larry Fitzgerald, on and off the field, with the way he works ... Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson are some of the best. I'll see what got them to that level and try to apply it to my game."

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