A.J. Green is poised to play his first football game since Oct. 28, 2018, when the Cincinnati Bengals kick off the 2020 season against the Los Angeles Chargers.
The long road back included tweaking his hamstring three weeks ago, which led to more missed practice time and gnawing thoughts that it could be another injury-riddled season for the seven-time Pro Bowler.
Coach Zac Taylor said Monday that Green is ready for the season opener.
“He looked good to me today,” Taylor said, via the team’s official website. “It’s good to have him back in the fold.”
Green missed seven games in 2018 and all of last season due to a foot injury.
His return gives rookie Joe Burrow a legit go-to target, but Taylor expects to keep track of Green’s snaps out of the gate.
“Fifty-five is a lot of snaps. You always monitor that,” Taylor said. “We’re fortunate because we’re deep at receiver and we feel like there are a lot of guys that can step in there and be a primary receiver. … You call a play and you don’t necessarily have to look to see who’s out there to make sure what play call. You feel the confidence all those guys can execute their jobs.”
According to the team’s website, in seven season openers, Green has averaged 57 plays and has never played fewer than 85 percent of snaps or taken fewer than 53 snaps.
After playing all last year without Green, the Bengals have some experience if the 32-year-old needs to take fewer snaps this time around. Tyler Boyd, John Ross, Tee Higgins and Auden Tate (who has reportedly been a standout) should all see time alongside Green — and in his place until the star is ready for a full workload.
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