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A.J. Green retiring after 12 years in NFL with Bengals, Cardinals

Adriel Jeremiah Green has caught his last touchdown pass.

The 12-year veteran of the NFL announced his retirement Monday via an Instagram post.

"I've never been a man of many words, so I'll keep this short," Green wrote. "Thank you. Thank you to all who have supported, encouraged, and inspired me throughout my career. Special thank you to the University of Georgia, Cincinnati Bengals, and Arizona Cardinals for the opportunity to pursue my dreams. I've stayed true to the game and it owes me nothing. Be blessed.. Love y'all! The next chapter begins..."

Green's career began with great fanfare and expectation as the fourth-overall pick of the 2011 draft, taken two selections ahead of Alabama standout Julio Jones in a star-studded class. Green quickly proved himself worthy of the choice, breaking 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie and launching a streak of five consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (and six in seven campaigns) in Cincinnati, good enough to earn him seven straight trips to the Pro Bowl and two second-team All-Pro selections (2012 and 2013).

Green was among the league's best at his position throughout his 20s but was often overshadowed by fellow star receivers playing elsewhere, due in part to the Bengals' failure to become a legitimate title contender. Cincinnati reached the postseason in each of his first five NFL seasons and saw its playoff run end in the same manner each year: wild-card defeats.

Still, Green remained as consistent as ever, forming a highly productive duo with quarterback and fellow 2011 draft pick Andy Dalton. Bengals fans could always count on Green to make highlight-reel grabs and finish with somewhere between 65 and 100 receptions per season, breaking double-digits in touchdowns in three of his first seven seasons.

The 2019 season is when things took a turn for the worst for Green, who suffered an ankle injury during the Bengals' training camp practice at the University of Dayton's Welcome Stadium and ended up missing the entire campaign. Green would play just one more season in Cincinnati before moving on to Arizona in 2021, joining DeAndre Hopkins in a receiving corps that was expected to produce at a high level with quarterback Kyler Murray throwing to them.

Green caught 54 passes for 848 yards and three touchdowns in his first season before going out quietly in his final year, catching 57 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns in 2022. He left pro football with one last hurrah, catching a 77-yard touchdown pass in Arizona's season finale at San Francisco.

Green retires with a career of which he can certainly be proud: 727 receptions, 10,514 receiving yards and 70 receiving touchdowns over 12 seasons. He was one of only four players selected to every Pro Bowl from 2011-2017, and one of 12 to earn such an honor in the Super Bowl era. He retires as a Bengals legend and owner of the third-longest streak of consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons to begin an NFL career.

As he wrote on Instagram, with Monday's retirement, he'll close the book on his NFL career and begin the next chapter of his life.

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