Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green sent twitter ablaze Thursday by merely walking on to the Paul Brown Stadium practice fields in helmet and shoulder pads. It’s the first time in 44 days and 44 nights Green, ever so limited, participated in a practice.
Then Zac Taylor, his head coach, did the same thing after practice two hours later when he quashed the Green trade rumors.
“He’s going to be a part of this team. I’m not looking to trade him,” said Taylor, who indicated the Bengals plan to try and sign him up long term. “He’s a big part of this team, a big part of this organization. When he comes back he’ll be a big boost for us. l love being around the guy. Love everything about him. So we want him around here.”
For the Bengals, it may seem like 44 years ago given what’s transpired since that first practice of training camp, when Green injured his ankle at the end of a leaping try for a catch. He has been ruled out of Sunday’s game in Baltimore (1 p.m.-Cincinnati’s Channel 12), but now the next week’s rematch with Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey at PBS on Oct. 20 looks like it may have a chance to be on.
Green didn’t do much. He stretched and went through individual position drills, hopping over bags in one segment and going through a short area drill that ended with the wideouts getting a ball thrown at them in another. He didn’t appear to do any team drills and probably spent most of the practice on the rehab field. He officially was listed as limited, along with left end Carlos Dunlap (knee) and cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (personal). Wide receiver Alex Erickson (concussion) went back to full Thursday.
On Wednesday Green ran and cut at full speed for the first time and the good news is he must have responded well enough to go out there Thursday because he’s not rushing anything.
“It’s nothing frustrating. It’s just time. I just have to be patient,” Green said Wednesday “I can’t rush it and not be the same guy and mess around and get hurt again. I’ve got to make sure it’s right before I even step out there.”
Green hasn’t played in a game since Dec. 2 against Denver, when he had to leave in the second quarter and ended up getting surgery on his big toe. Taylor’s pronouncement has to make him feel pretty good. He told Bengals.com on Wednesday that he’d prefer to stay with the Bengals, whether they were re-building or not.
_Alex Redmond, making the transition from guard to tackle this week, said he has played tackle. Sophomore year for the junior varsity at Los Alamitos High School in Los Alamitos, Calif. Redmond made the move last week working with John Jerry, another converted guard manning tackle with Andre Smith (ankle) out again Thursday.
After practice offensive line coach Jim Turner said that Redmond or Jerry could start against the Ravens in what has come down to a competition. He covets Redmond’s tough attitude and mindset and how he influenced Thursday’s practice.
“I love Redmond,” Turner said. “He brings an energy, a physicality. He kind of sparked that whole practice today. He plays hard. He loves football. Being around a guy like that is contagious.
“He finishes blocks. He pisses people off. And then there’s some little shoving going and the next thing you know everybody is playing like it’s the Super Bowl. I would say blood pressure went up a little bit, but no fights.”
Redmond has got it a lot better than Jerry, the 33-year-old nine-year vet. In his second season in the league in Miami, Jerry was switched from left guard to left tackle in mid-game went Jake Long tore up his shoulder even though he had never worked there.
“They said, ‘You did OK. We’re going to put you out there for the last two games of the season,” Jerry recalled before Wednesday’s practice. “Alex has been around. He doesn’t need any advice. He knows what to do out there. He’s not a fish out of water.”
After Smith got hurt in the second quarter last Sunday, Jerry helped blank one of the NFL’s most prolific sackers in Arizona’s Chandler Jones. How he did that is a good blueprint for Redmond.
“Just knowing where your help is at, trying not to get beat away from your help,” Jerry said. “That’s the main thing. Just sticking to the game plan.”