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NFL Cincinnati Bengals

What Will A.J. Green Give Us in 2013 For an Encore?

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

In 2012, Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green invited us all to his coming out party while he exploded onto the scene as a sophomore. As a rookie, Green was good. In his second year, he was virtually un-coverable. Considering the trend, NFL fans can’t wait to see what he has in store for 2013.

In his sophomore season, Green caught 97 passes for 1,350 yards and 11 touchdowns. Just to give you some perspective on how good his year was, here are some notable names in the past ten to fifteen years that failed to produce those types of numbers in just their second season: Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, Victor Cruz, Wes Welker, Percy Harvin, Terrell Owens, Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson, Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne, and Anquan Boldin.

Green was so good last year that he completed a streak of nine games where he caught at least one touchdown. Making most of those scores look effortless, many wonder why the Bengals’ game plan wasn’t just to throw to him every single time they got inside the 20 yard line. Having a weapon with his type of athletic ability is something that franchises all over the NFL have coveted for years.

Quarterback Andy Dalton could not have imagined a better target for himself coming out of college, and I guarantee you that Dalton is Green’s biggest fan of all. For years to come, Bengals fans and football fans in general will get to enjoy one of the most gifted wide receivers the league has seen in the past decade.

Whether you’re a fan of Cincinnati or not, you should be eagerly anticipating what Green has in store for this next season. A year older, a year smarter, a year more matured, and hopefully a year of even better training will put him in the best possible shape to succeed in 2013. With bitter rivals around the division losing defensive leaders to Free Agency this winter, Dalton and Green are likely salivating over the potential historical season awaiting come fall.

Ryan Heckman is a Minnesota Timberwolves writer and NFL contributor for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, “Like” him on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google.