Cincinnati Bengals rookie wide receiver AJ Green has accomplished something not done by a Bengals in 30 years. Green was selected to the AFC/NFC Pro Bowl as a rookie, the first Bengals rookie to earn the honor since Cris Collinsworth did so in 1981.
The honor caps off a stellar debut by Green. Heading into the season's final game, Green has surpassed 1000 yards receiving and caught seven touchdowns. He's done all that despite missing the second half of the game against the Steelers in Cincinnati and the next week against Baltimore.
Green reacted to the news in his typically humble fashion:
"I'm thrilled. It's a team honor… Andy (Dalton) is a big part of why I'm going… He'll make it next year."
Green was referring to the snub of his fellow rookie, quarterback Andy Dalton. He was among a group of Bengals named first alternates including DT Geno Atkins and K Mike Nugent. Other Bengals were named alternates down the line. That list includes OT Andrew Whitworth, TE Jermaine Gresham, RB Cedric Benson, and DT Domata Peko.
Though Green has had the highest profile season with his acrobatic, highlight-reel catches, it was surprising that Atkins, the stalwart of the team's much improved defense wasn't named as a starter. His eight sacks are tops among NFL defensive tackles.
Green was also aware of the context of his award, telling reporters he was much more focused on winning this weekend's game against the Baltimore Ravens and making the playoffs than with any individual recognition.
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