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Green eyes future, not history


A.J. Green is upbeat about his comeback.

A.J. Green says he won't bail out on his team and if his injured hamstring allows the perennial Pro Bowl wide receiver plans to play this season no matter the record of a Bengals team that sits 3-7-1.

"I'm not that kind of guy," Green said Friday morning, surfacing for the media for the first time since the Nov. 20 injury. "I am not going to bail out on my team. When I'm ready to play I'll play. If it's the last game, I'll play the game. It doesn't matter. I'm going to play regardless."

That won't be Sunday (1 p.m.-Cincinnati's Channel 19) at Paul Brown Stadium against the Eagles, where he'll be joined on the inactive list by regular defensive lineman Wallace Gilberry (calf) and backup safety Derron Smith (thigh). Also looking like he'll miss his second straight game is long snapper Clark Harris (groin) and backup tight end C.J. Uzomah (calf) is looking at his third straight. Both are marked doubtful after Harris was limited Friday and Uzomah missed the last two practices.

It looks like starting safety Shawn Williams (hamstring) gets back in the lineup after missing his first NFL game last week. He went full Friday after being limited the first two days of the week and hasn't been assigned a status.  

But Green said he'll be cautious. He's just 36 yards away from joining Randy Moss as the only player with 1,000 receiving yards in each of the first six seasons of a career, but he's consumed by the future and not history.

"It's cool, but I'm not going to put my whole career in jeopardy because of a record," Green said. "I've got a lot of football left to be played. I'm not going to rush it and miss time next year or need surgery because I went out too early and tore it even more."

Green says he's got a grade two tear, which is 50 percent torn, he says. But he's surprised he's already back jogging this week because he thought it would take him two weeks just to walk again.

"It feels good. It's getting better every day," he said, but there is no timetable.

"We'll see,' Green said in his best Marvin Lewis, the classic injury return answer by the Bengals head coach.

Green was in the midst of a career year with 66 catches (third in the NFL)  and 964 yards (second in the NFL) when he opened the tenth game of the season against Buffalo on the second snap trying to jump and catch one of his quick line-of-scrimmage hitters on the sideline.

"I don't know what happened,' Green said. "I felt something grab on the way up … I thought it was a really bad cramp."

But when he couldn't walk on it, the cart came out as a wave of nausea swept Bengaldom like a tsunami.
But he was relieved when the MRI showed a few minutes later he wouldn't need surgery. He can deal with everything else, including having his best swiped out from underneath him.

"I wouldn't say disappointing," Green said.  "Things happen that I can't control. I'm not going to get down on myself. I was playing very well, but things happen … Whenever I get back, I'll be back, and finish where I left off."

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