CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green is still getting acclimated to playing games again.

On Thursday, Green said he’s starting to feel more comfortable on the field after missing the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury and being limited by a hamstring injury during the 2020 preseason. After catching three of his 13 targets against Cleveland last week, Green said he’s still working toward being able to fully trust himself when he’s running and finishing routes in his first games since the ankle injury.

“I’d be lying if I didn’t say I didn’t think about it the first game,” Green said. “For me, it’s just going out there and having full confidence in myself that I’m not going to get hurt again. Each week, I get better and better and more comfortable.”

The seven-time Pro Bowl selection has yet to find his form. Green has caught 36.4% of his targets through two games, according to ESPN Stats and Information. Before this season, Green had a 59.6% career catch rate in eight seasons. This year, Green has eight catches for 80 yards and no touchdowns.

Green’s recent hamstring injury limited his ability to participate throughout the preseason, which coach Zac Taylor attributed to Green’s slow start.

“A.J. has probably had four practices leading up to that last game [against the Browns],” Taylor said. “It will be good for anybody, whether you’re an All-Pro player or not, to be able to get on the field, get that rhythm and communication with the quarterback.”

In addition to overcoming injuries, Green also has to adjust to a new quarterback, rookie Joe Burrow, and his first year playing in Taylor’s system. While Green said he was “rusty,” he embraces the task ahead of him this season.

“I knew there were going to be growing pains, but I want to be great and I accept the challenge,” Green said. “For me, all I know is to keep working, and I know I’ll get better each week.”



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