Don’t sleep on AJ Green.
The Cincinnati Bengals top playmaker missed a significant portion of action last season–around six games in total. But when you finish with 69 receptions, over 1,000 yards receiving, and six touchdowns and THAT’S considered a down year for you…man, I don’t really want to see what’ll happen when you truly breakout. Sporting a pair of mitts that seem to never drop anything–Green’s drop rate percentage last season was a minuscule 1.7–a 6-4 frame, and enough speed to keep even the swiftest cornerbacks on their toes, Green is hoping to finally push the Bengals over the hump and deep into the NFL Playoffs.
In the new “Your Athlete is Showing” Champs Sports campaign, Green took to the practice field to showcase why he’s considered one of the NFL’s best overall athletes. Champs Sports challenged the former Georgia Bulldog to catch everything tossed his way, from multiple footballs at once to fish to even clothes. Green made it look easy.
Making things look easy is something this dude does pretty often, flashing his unique sense of style on the regular on his Instagram. And so in the latest episode of The Drop video series, you know we had to catch up with AJ Green to talk about it, as well as getting a read on his offseason training.
Lucky for you, this series is just heating up. From NBA lottery picks to Pro Bowl running backs to retired Hall of Famers, The Drop is all about style. You can also get involved in the action by tagging your best sneaker photos on the IG with the hashtag #MyGameMondays. If the swag is real enough, you might just see yourself in the next episode. Until then, AJ Green is about to let you into his world. Check it out.
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In the past you’ve spent your offseason training with pros, particularly Calvin Johnson. How has he helped you grow as a receiver?
Working with Calvin these last couple of years is key because he’s been doing this at a high level for so long, and the way he approaches the offseason, the way he takes care of his body, and just little pointers like that. Just watching him work, I actually take some pointers into my workout and I try to apply it to the field, the way he takes care of his body.
So aside from putting work on the gridiron in the offseason, you regularly expand your well-documented sneaker collection. In fact, Calvin Johnson once went on record saying that you show up with a new pair of sneakers each time. What was the most notable addition that you made this season (for this summer)?
Biggest one is my Jordan collection. It got a little bit bigger. I’m more of the retros, the OG ones, like the ones from 2000, I got a pair of the IIs like a couple of weeks ago from 2001. Those are my latest Nike or Jordan sneaker.
Yeah, that was a hot drop. Everyone was lining up for those ones around the corner. Can you give us a rough estimate on how many sneakers you have in your collection?
Huh, rough estimate…[looks in the direction of his wife] Can you help me? I’m going to see if my wife can help me. What would you say? Like 500 maybe.
Oh my god…
It’s pretty deep.
Do you and your wife fight for closet space?
Ask her. She has the bigger closet. I use a room across from my room and she hates it because I just throw all of my other sneakers in there; it’s like a second closet so she hates it.
How did your kicks obsession begin?
It started in high school. I had a fetish with sneakers since high school. I was the first one with a car, so I used to rent my car out, to take the gas money, and saved it for my sneakers. Then my mom got off from work one day, she saw one of my friends at a gas station with my car, and I got in trouble so I had to stop that and find another way to get money.
That’s smart. Entrepreneur. So what’s your go-to shoe on a daily basis?
My go-to shoe everyday got to be my Flyknits. I wear those everyday, I have every color. The Flyknits are probably my best ones.
Yeah. They’re super comfortable. So, what are some of your favorite Nike products that you would recommend to budding athletes looking to maximize their potential?
I think the biggest one for me is the Nike Recovery Tights that I wear after practice, sometime I wear them to sleep. I think the Nike Recovery Tights are the best.
You have camp going on right now, but as far as the offseason, you’re improving and getting better each season. Do you have a specific approach you take with this?
Yeah. I just work out. Getting out my breaks quicker. That’s basically it. Learning routes. Trying to perfect my craft.
We had talked about you training with Calvin Johnson. Do you train with any other guys in the NFL?
Yeah. Justin Houston, Hakeem Nicks, Jarvis Jones; there are a lot of guys I train with.
Everyone knows you’re one of the elite receivers in the NFL, but, maybe this year, is there any aspect of your game you’re working on to improve or do you have any goals to reach a higher level?
Just got to keep working, keep getting better. The goal for me is keep getting better each year. Have no drop-off years and stay healthy.
Going into the season, is there anything you look forward to every year? Like “man, I can’t wait!” Obviously you’ve been waiting the whole summer to play, but outside of that is there anything else that you look forward to?
Yeah. Week 1 is always the craziest week but just going out there, the opening, kickoff of the football season is always what I look forward to. Week 1 matchup…
What does Andy Dalton bring to the table?
Andy is our leader of the team. He’s getting better every year. He gets a lot of flack that he doesn’t deserve. I think this year he’s going to open a lot of people’s eyes. He had a great camp this summer, he’s taking vocal leadership. I can’t wait to get out there and show people what we’ve been working on all summer.
A lot of pro athletes nowadays are really into fashion and style and with Instagram that gives you a platform to showcase your swagger. How much fun is that?
It’s good. It gives people my personality off the field. You know I love fashion and I love sneakers; it just gives fans a different look at me instead of just pads and a helmet.
Is there anyone in the NFL you think can touch your sneaker collection?
[Laughs] There are a couple of guys. I know Joe Haden, Victor Cruz, those guys are way up there. Those two standout and I think Kaepernick has a big collection as well.
How did you get into Jordans? It seems like those are a big part of your collection.
Since I was younger. I’ve been a Jordan fan since I was younger. I had all the shoes growing up. From high school, middle school, elementary school.
If you were to walk into a Champs Sports, what’s the first thing you reach for, the first thing that catches your eye?
I think, for me, the retro Jordans are my favorite and I love the Flyknits. Jordans and Flyknits are what I usually look for. Champs Sports be having some great Flyknits.
As far as shooting your recent campaign with Champs Sports, they had you catching all that crazy stuff like fish, juggling and all of that. What was that like?
It was fun, definitely. The standing one was one of my favorites, the one where they were shooting the clothes onto my body. That turned out to be a great one. It was fun. It was a great experience and I had a blast out there.
Follow Sean on Twitter at @seanesweeney