The Bengals have until July 15 to sign A.J. Green to a long-term deal or he will play under the franchise tag.
Green said earlier this offseason that the tag wasn’t the best thing, but added he wouldn’t turn down the $18 million that comes with it. He has yet to sign it, though.
“We’ll see,” Green told Geoff Hobson of the team website. “Whatever happens is going to happen. When the time comes, I’ll be in the best shape to play my best ball this year no matter what happens. The best shape of my life.”
Green hasn’t played a game since Dec. 2, 2018. He has played only nine games the past two seasons.
He tore ligaments in his left ankle on the first day of training camp practice last summer, requiring surgery. He practiced only once last season, as a limited participant, before the ankle swelled again.
The Bengals finally placed him on injured reserve late last season.
Green has returned to full health and is medically cleared for football activities, he said.
“Not playing the last year and a half, it’s really zoomed me into being more focused, not taking things for granted,” Green said. “The first seven years it was like, ‘Oh, this is easy. No speed bumps. Making the Pro Bowl every year.’ Then it’s been injury after injury.
“It’s a process of trying to be great. You play this game long enough, you’re going to have these bumps in the road, and you have to keep fighting. That’s where I am. Still fighting. I still love the game. I’m just ready to get back and play.”