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Business as usual


After A.J. Green conducted business on Friday, it's been business as usual.

On Tuesday, his first day off since signing his life-changing extension, he didn't change a thing and worked in the Paul Brown Stadium weight room. The man who professes to hate change isn't going to start now. You can thank Dora and Woodrow Green for that.

"About 2 o'clock Friday. I was sitting on the porch taking a break from mowing," Woodrow Green is saying the other day. "He called me and said, 'Daddy, I got my contract done.' I asked him how much. I told him I was happy for him. I asked him, 'Did you call your daddy first? He said, 'Yeah, I had to call.'"

He doesn't like change, but the father? You should have seen it about three years ago when he tried to buy his parents a new home.

"He wanted to buy us a house in town. Ten, 15 miles away in Summerville," Mr. Green says. "I told him, 'No, A.J. It's just me and your mother. I already have a nice house.'  I didn't really want it. But he kept harassing me. 'Daddy, I'm going to get you and Momma a new house.' Finally his mother said, 'Go ahead A.J., build it.'"

But it wasn't in Summerville. It was across the street from the old one in Clubhouse, the 132-acre slice of rustic South Carolina where the Green family has lived for generations. On one side of the old house is his brother's family and on the other side is the home of his first cousin.

"I gave it to my niece," Woodrow Green says. "Keep it in the family."

This is why Adriel Jeremiah Green doesn't like change or the NFL''s big markets and why he likes Cincinnati's leafy East Side. You can take the country out of A.J., but you can't take the Green out of A.J.

"You can't take me out of the country," Woodrow Green says. "This is where I was born and raised. I told him I'd come up there any time he needs me to come up there, but I'm not leaving here. We don't have a lot of problems. There's not robbing and breaking into homes. Everybody watches out for each other around here. I can walk out of here, leave my door open and not worry about anybody coming in."

This is why Dora and Woodrow Green's only child is in the weight room on Tuesdays.  Dora Green, a supervisor at Wal-Mart, has been there 29 years and wants to make it to 30 years next spring.

"A.J. called her at work Friday and told her," Woodrow Green says. "She likes to work."

So does her husband. One of the reasons Woodrow Green didn't want to move out of the old house is he bought it right after his son was born on the last day of July in 1988.

"Paid for it cash money. My entire life's savings," Woodrow Green says. "Thirty-two thousand dollars. They built the shell and my family and friends helped me inside with the wiring and other stuff. My father-in-law was a carpenter. He did all the trim."

A.J. Green is going to have $32 million by his next birthday, but he's still in the weight room on Tuesday. Maybe because he saw his father lose the only job he ever had since he got out of high school 20 years into his stint at Macalloy, where by then he was an assistant supervisor and A.J. was nine.

He was out of work only three weeks before he became a heavy equipment operator at a concrete plant that laid him off 13 years later during A.J.'s last year at Georgia. Since then he's been helping his brother run a bar that doubles as a beer and wine store that has been in the family three generations. It is right there in Clubhouse by the baseball field, but A.J. and the Bengals rule the TVs in the place on Sundays.

"I was raised up the road where my house is now," Woodrow Green says.

That's the thing about fathers and sons. The son is never going back to live in Summerville. They're the same but different. A.J. already has a place in Atlanta and he's looking for one in Cincinnati.  But other than that, he's got the same hair and the same disposition for change as his dad.

"I get on him about his hair," Mr. Green admits. "I always tell him, 'Keep it low like your Daddy wears it.' Never had any trouble with him. He's a good guy."

When A.J. comes home, he likes to do what his dad does when he's got free time. Pull everything out of the water they can find between Clubhouse and Summerville. He gave Woodrow his first boat, a 16-foot Bass, a few years ago to help in his quest searching for the local catfish, mudfish, crappie, and bass.

"I'm going to get him a bigger boat now," A.J. Green said with a laugh Friday, shortly after signing the deal. "He can take out the whole family."

Truth be told, Mr. Green probably likes that idea better than the new house, though he admits he's starting to grow into it.

"I'd like a faster boat," Woodrow Green says.  "And right now I can only take two other people out with me. My wife would like to go, but she's working most of the time and she doesn't like to mess with the worms."

On Friday, after he got off the riding mower that took care of the new acre and a half, he took some dirt and filled in some holes in the yard. And then there was his old house across the street with another half-acre to mow.

"You can't take me out of the country," says Woodrow Green, waiting for his wife to come home from work after getting her hair done.

And you can't take the Green out of A.J. It is business as usual.

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