Quick slant to A.J.


A.J. Green

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — A.J. Green is a man of few words. Which is OK because everyone else doesn't mind talking about the Bengals rookie wide receiver.

Like offensive coordinator Jay Gruden going long with, "I don't know what else to say. He's everything you want in a No. 4 pick and then some."

Or wide receivers coach James Urban playing it safe underneath, albeit with a smile, "You'd have to say the physical traits we saw on film have translated."

Or veteran quarterback Bruce Gradkowski with a quick slant: "He's a special talent … I tell Jay Gruden. He's got a great attitude, he's willing to work hard, he takes coaching, and that's all you can expect from a young guy. That's awesome. That's why he's going to be a great football player."

Has there ever been a Bengals first-round pick that has elicited such a high WOW factor so early on? Certainly not in the ESPN age, which, by the way, Green usually doesn't watch.

There's a lot of things that Green doesn't do that qualify him as one of those throwback superstars. The guy who follows the NFL's two reality TV stars into this camp doesn't have a TV in his dorm. He says his girlfriend, R&B singer Miranda Brooke is going to be more famous than him. His parents are back at his Cincinnati condo getting it ready with his clothes and furniture.

And there is very sad but special reason why he feels like this is all happening for a reason. You gingerly approach the topic, but he leaps at it like red-zone fade. It may be why he's here.

Here is a quick slant (his favorite route) from Green in an interview this week. Short on words, but long on everything else. A.J. could stand for the Anti-Jock celebrity.

GH: When you look back on the past week, what's the one thing you didn't expect?

AJ: That I would learn the plays as fast as I have. I've got a good grasp of the stuff we're doing now and I really understand it.

GH: How is different than what you had at Georgia?

AJ: Oh man, you didn't have that much time to study. You had class and stuff like that. Not being in school, I go back to my room and look over the playbook and that really helped me get on the field and be comfortable.

GH: What did you think when Randy Moss retired?

AJ: It was a shocker because I thought he had a couple of more good years in him if he just got with the right team. He's going to be a Hall of Famer. It comes to an end but he's going to be a Hall of Famer, so it doesn't matter.

GH: That's one name you hear around here the last three or four days: Randy Moss, because of the way you've been catching the jump ball.

AJ: Anytime the ball is in the air it's my ball, man.  You know, it's going out there and competing every day.

GH: What is your take on Andy Dalton?

AJ: He's a great quarterback and he's a natural leader. I feel like as the year goes along he's going to keep getting better each week. You know he's going to be great one.

GH: You've hooked up on all kinds of balls. Red zone, jump ball. Did Crocker say anything to you the other day when you leaped over him and grabbed it?

AJ: He just said, 'I couldn't let you get the first one.' I came back and had some more good catches. You've got to keep working.

GH: Looks like you had a pretty good day against a pretty good corner the other day in Leon Hall.

AJ: Leon's a great corner. I just have the privilege to have him guard me each week and we can get each other better.

GH: Jay Gruden getting in your ear a little bit?

AJ: Not really. Not yet. I'm just learning.

GH: Without the Ocho here, it seems kind of quiet. You guys are grinding away.

AJ: That's the way it's supposed to be. I feel like you're here to play football and that's all you're here to do. You've got to keep grinding until this camp is over and make it to the season and get the thing rolling.

GH: If you're not playing football, what are you doing?

AJ: Probably just watching TV.

GH: What's your favorite show?

AJ: Swamp People.

GH: Do you watch ESPN and all that stuff?

AJ: Sometimes, but not much. I'm around this every day. I don't need to hear what ESPN has to say.

GH: Favorite route?

AJ: The slant.

GH: Why?

AJ: I don't know. It's so quick and then I can get in there so fast.

GH: What's the best ball that Dalton throws?

AJ: The deep ball is pretty good.

GH: He's supposed to have a knock on his arm strength.

AJ: Oh well, the past couple of deep balls he's thrown me have been pretty good.

GH: You seem to enjoying talking to Bruce Gradkowski.

AJ: He's a student of the game. He's been around some great ones, so I'm taking tips from him.

GH: I don't know if you saw last year's camp with Ocho and T.O. I don't know if you keep up with that stuff or even if care about that stuff.

AJ: No.

GH: It looks like the only thing you care about is football.

AJ: That' s it. That's about it. That's my job.

GH: When is the last time you tweeted? I haven't see anything lately.

AJ: I don't know. Four weeks ago maybe. Long time ago.

GH: I guess Bobbie and Whit asked the guys to go easy on Twitter and not tweet about team stuff.

AJ: Yeah. To a minimum. I really don't tweet anyway, so it doesn't even matter. It doesn't bother me.

GH: I know you said last week your girlfriend said you didn't tweet enough. Is she going to get up her to see you anytime soon?

AJ: She signed with Def Jam, she's a singer so she's back at home working … Miranda Brooke …she just started. She's working on an album and it's going to come out in March. R&B singer.

GH: I guess you're more famous right now.

AJ: Right now. But I always tell her it's going to be over soon.

GH: Pretty good?

AJ: She's real good.

GH: You're pretty good, too.

AJ: Yeah, I'm OK, I'm OK. But you know the entertainers and the singers, they always get more recognition than athletes.

GH: How did you guys meet?

AJ: We met through a mutual friend coming into my freshman year of college. She went to Georgia State.

*GH: What do you think of the Cincinnati fans so far? You always seem to be giving autographs. *

AJ: They seem like Georgia fans. Passionate about the game. Passionate whether we win or lose.     

GH: What do you do at night down here if you're not tweeting?

AJ: I'm living in my playbook. I don't have a TV. I have nothing.

GH: No TV?

AJ: So I'm in the playbook all day.

GH: Do you have an iPod?

AJ: I got an iPad. I just got my iPad yesterday. I went home to Cincinnati.

GH: Apartment or condo?

AJ: Condo. My parents are there getting it ready. They've been there for a week.

GH: What did they bring for you?

AJ: Just my clothes and my mother's decorating it, getting it nice.

GH: You're their only child, right?

AJ: They've been together for 29 years. I've got a lot of little cousins, so I wasn't alone all the time.

GH: Did you ever want a sibling?

AJ: I had a brother. He died in a car accident. I was four, he was nine.

GH: Do you remember it?

AJ: I remember a little bit, but not that much. I was in the car. My aunt was driving. She was paralyzed from the waist down. My brother got killed. Nothing happened to me. That 's why I always say I'm blessed. I didn't have a scrape on me.

GH: Not a scrape?

AJ: Not a scrape.

GH: Were you sitting next to your brother?

AJ: He was in the front seat and I was in the back seat.

GH: Do you ever wonder if you got  in the front seat?

AJ: Not really because God does things for a reason. My faith in Him, He didn't put me in the front seat.

GH: Was it just you three?

AJ: It was my aunt, my brother, my two cousins got metal plates in their legs. It was a real bad accident.

GH: You're the only that didn't get hurt. Do you ever think about that?

AJ: I just feel I'm so blessed that God put me here for a reason.

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