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Carter looks for a Green-Dalton finish


GLENDALE, Ariz. _ Cris Carter has a plan in Sunday's Pro Bowl (8 p.m.-ESPN) when his team goes against Team Irvin.

"I thought I could get Andy Dalton later so they can play together in the fourth quarter and try to win it," Carter said Saturday night. "I love A.J.'s work ethic. I know I don't have to worry about him. I know he'll be at practice and I know he'll play hard."

That's why Carter had captain Antonio Brown call Green's name as the No. 3 pick in last week's draft as the first non-quarterback taken. Carter, a Hall-of-Famer with more than 1,000 catches, didn't have to rely on his scouts to make that pick.

"I'm a big fan of A.J. He's one of the best of the best in this era of receivers," Carter said. "He's different than the great receivers over the last 20 years.  He's an introvert. He really works hard at his craft. Socially he's very responsible, he's a student of the game, he's a good teammate. He wants to be great and he doesn't want to pronounce that to anyone."

Carter recalled when Green reached out to him a few years ago and asked him how he could get better. The advice isn't much different. Stay healthy and consistent.

"I would like to see them throw the ball to him a little more shallow and run the ball with him," Carter said. "I believe he's a better runner with the ball than he gets credit for. He's a great deep threat and intermediate route runner."

Before Dalton gets the call at quarterback, Carter is going with the No. 1 pick, the Colts' Andrew Luck, and the Saints' Drew Brees. It's not lost on Green that the last time he and Dalton hooked up in the fourth quarter the Bengals were driving for the winning touchdown against the Steelers with less than four minutes left and three plays after Green fumbled Brown won the AFC North with a 63-yard touchdown catch.

"A little bit," Green admitted when asked if he's thought about that play during the last month. "We could have had position to have a home (playoff) game. I think we had a shot (to win it.) You never know."

After his 17-yard catch-and-run on a slant over the middle to the Steelers 30-yard line with 3:51 left and the Bengals trailing, 20-17, cornerback Antwon Blake grabbed it and knocked it out.

"I was trying to tuck the ball away. I should have got down because I saw the safety coming," Green said. "The dude just made a good play."

To make matters worse, safety Mike Mitchell hit him in the head after the fumble, driving him out of the game, putting him in the NFL's concussion protocol, and keeping him out of the playoff game.

"Freak hit," Green said. "It was very tough watching the next week. You're watching (a 26-10 loss) and there's nothing you can do about it."

It didn't take long for Green to hear his name. Despite a season he had six games without a catch because of injury, only Luck and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo went ahead of him.

"It's humbling to be picked that high," Green said.

Which is why Carter picked him.

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