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Green Spurs hoop debate


Tez breaks the NFL Network's top 100.

The NBA Finals start Thursday night and so we go to the well to get a prediction on Miami-San Antonio.

"I like the Spurs in six," says three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green, the best basketball player in the Bengals locker room, right?

"He's the best wide receiver,' says cornerback Adam Jones, "but he wants no part of me in basketball."  

One good way to get a debate going in the Bengals' locker room is to ask around about the best in other sports. Hands down they seem to accept that Tyler Eifert is the best golfer with maybe the slightest of bristles from Andrew Whitworth.

But you'd think there'd be no argument when it comes to hoop and Green. It's the only time you ever hear Green talk trash. The best basketball player in the room?

"Yes it is me. What kind of question is that?' asks Green with a Kobe-like leer. "All-around basketball player, I'm the man. No one can check me."

It'd be hard to argue. The old wives' tale at Georgia is they didn't put his basketball histrionics in the media guide bio because the football coaches didn't want the basketball office snooping around.

Apparently it didn't matter because Green says basketball coach Mark Fox asked him about it, anyway.  But he says football coach Mark Richt "wasn't having it." And, besides, Green had made up his mind when he left Summerville High School in South Carolina.

"It was 50-50 going into 11th grade. Football or basketball. But football just took off," Green says. "Better to be a 6-4 receiver than a 6-4 point guard or something like that. I liked my chances in football."

But basketball was fun. He said he played The Three, but his style, when compared to someone in the NBA, was most like Bryant's shooting and rebounding.

"Double double every night," Green says.

His No. 1 may have been the first retired football jersey in Summerville history, but the No. 1 stood for something else.  When they beat Spartanburg in Green's senior year, it was  Summerville's first state hoop title. Green had 25 of the 50 points in the championship game with nine rebounds and three blocked shots despite fouling out with about a minute left

But, "I liked football. I like being physical."

Green also likes the Spurs and he's rooting for them.

"They're hungry. They're on a mission," Green says. "Pop (Spurs coach Gregg Popovich) is like the Bill Belichick of the NBA. Less talent, but he knows how to use it."

TEZ GETS CALL: The NFL Network lists Vontaze Burfict as the 52nd best player in the league and the Bengals best defender finally got some national love when the crew had him on to talk about it.

Here's a guy that went from being undrafted in 2012 to leading the league in tackles and going to the Pro Bowl in 2013 and all they could really ask him was if he felt like hitting Johnny Manziel and if he was the best linebacker in the NFL. Tez was classy about it all and he left no doubt he's confident in his abilities. When they threw around some  of the names on The Network, he admitted that the 49ers' Patrick Willis was the best in the league. All he would say is, "I'm up there."

 "The numbers don't lie," Burfict said.

In the top 100 rankings culled from players, Burfict was the first Bengal and first WILL backer on the list, ahead of Daryl Washington at No. 96, Kiko Alonso at No. 84, Clay Matthews at No. 77, , Von Miller at No. 76, Derrick Johnson at No. 64, DeAndre Levy at No. 59, Justin Houston at No. 57, and DeMarcus Ware at No. 56.

BOLING LOOKING FOR DAY 1 RETURN: Left guard Clint Boling, who underwent ACL surgery Dec. 31, thinks he can be back for the first day of training camp. And if not, soon after as he and rehab trainer Nick Cosgray put the finishing touches on what looks to be an ultra-successful rehab.

"I definitely think I'll be ready for the regular season," Boling said. "I really think I can go the first day of camp, but if not it won't be too long after that. It went really well. We just never had a setback, we got the range of motion back early, and there was never much swelling."

WAIVER CLAIM: The Bengals have one spot open on their 90-man roster after they acquired wide receiver Jasper Collins on waivers from the Steelers. The 5-10, 190-pound Collins is a first-year NFL player from Mount Union. He came out last year when the Dolphins signed him as a free agent, and spent time on the Cleveland and Miami practice squads during the season before he was signed by Pittsburgh following the season.

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