The No. 2 receiver in Bengals receiving history is returning to Cincinnati for 2020.
A.J. Green signed his franchise tag tender and will report to camp on time with the rest of the team, the Bengals announced Friday.
"A.J. is one of the best receivers in the NFL," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said in a release from the team. "He's an important part of our plans, and we're thrilled to have him in the fold from Day 1. We're looking forward to the impact of his talent and leadership on our offense this season."
Green missed all of 2019 with an ankle injury suffered in late July, and there was a period of time during which he and the team didn't quite see eye-to-eye on his status and potential return. The return never materialized, of course, and there was some uncertainty whether Green wanted to remain in Cincinnati in 2020 at all.
Friday's news puts to bed any worries of a Bengals season without Green who is fully healed and ready to hit the field for the team that spent the fourth-overall pick on him in 2011. Green's signing of his franchise tag secures him for 2020 but no further. Bengals executive VP Katie Blackburn did say, however, the team is looking "forward to the opportunity to discuss keeping him here long-term," a conversation that will likely provide plenty of news updates for the football world in the months ahead.
The seven-time Pro Bowler ranks second all-time in receiving yards in Bengals history with 8,907 and would be poised to pass all-time leader Chad Johnson (10,783) if he'd been able to play in 2019.
Instead of chasing history, Green will be pursuing an understanding with No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow, the quarterback who will be responsible for getting Green the ball plenty. Green has received at least 100 targets in all but his most recent season of 2018, and will be counted on as the No. 1 receiver in a potentially dangerous corps that also includes Tyler Boyd, John Ross and rookie Tee Higgins.
"I've got the same mindset. I want to play another four years and I hope to retire as a Bengal," Green told the team website. "There were never harsh words. I understand there's a business side of it. For me, I just want to play football."