Receiver takes to Instagram to deliver expected newsDarren Urban
At the end, A.J. Green still had the skills that made him one of the best wide receivers in the NFL, high-pointing a deep pass from David Blough in double coverage, pulling it down and then escaping potential tackles to score a 77-yard touchdown.
That came in the Cardinals' final game of the season in San Francisco, just a few days after acknowledging his career could be over soon. On Monday, as Super Bowl week began in earnest, Green made it official, announcing on Instagram his playing days were done.
"I've never been a man of many words, so I'll keep this short," Green wrote. "Thank you. Thank you for 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 ..."
The 34-year-old Green played the final two seasons of his 12-year career with the Cardinals. After averaging an impressive 15.7 yards a catch in 2021 - 54 receptions for 848 yards and three touchdowns - he like many on the Cardinals struggled in 2022. He only had 24 catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns.
But Green did have a couple of highlights. One was the touchdown catch against the 49ers. Another was his clutch two-point conversion catch from Kyler Murray with no time left on the clock in Las Vegas in Week 2, sending the game into overtime which the Cardinals ultimately won.
The first five years of Green's career - his initial 10 seasons were with the Cincinnati Bengals - were among the best starts of any receiver. He is another of the epic 2011 draft class, the fourth overall pick of a top 11 that included Cam Newton, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Julio Jones and J.J. Watt.
Green finishes with 727 receptions for 10,514 yards and 70 touchdowns, and that's after missing the entire 2019 season with an ankle injury.
When Green talked about his future before the finale, he said many of the same things he repeated in his IG message, that the game owed him nothing. He made clear he had no desire to uproot his young kids to continue to chase another year of playing and it was unlikely the Cardinals would have brought him back for a third season.
"I did everything the right way, so if it's my time to walk away, I'll be ready," he said.