The Cincinnati Bengals’ AJ Green isn’t playing in Saturday night’s game against the Houston Texans due to a hamstring injury, and he might well be shut down for the season with the Bengals out of the playoff picture. And that isn’t sitting well with Green.
“I’m not the type of guy to try to just shut it down, just to bail on my team because we’re not having the season we wanted to have,” Green said Thursday. “That’s like a cowardly move to me. If I’m healthy, I’m going to play. And I feel like I’m healthy.”
But ESPN reported late Saturday afternoon that Green was pulled from a team meeting this week and told he would not be playing, despite the fact that he was optimistic he would be. Green has been out since Week 11 with the hamstring injury. Green was displeased with the news, which apparently blindsided him and the rest of the team, and is not with the Bengals in Houston.
ESPN reported that the decision to pull Green came after consultation with outside experts, who indicated that despite Green’s protests to the contrary, the star wide receiver ran a substantial risk of worsening the injury—which would be a tough way to end a lost season.
It’s easy to admire Green’s determination to play, but the Bengals have to think longer-term, given the way Green alters the entire complexion of the team’s offense. While the news could have been broken in an easier way, it’s hard to see this as anything other than the Bengals making the prudent decision for 2017 and beyond.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at email@example.com or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.