The only two offensive players who have started for the Cincinnati Bengals since they began their run of five straight playoff appearances in 2011, A.J. Green and Andy Dalton, may be looked to for more leadership in 2017.
Andrew Whitworth is no longer on the roster, meaning the two seven-year players are the Bengals’ longest-tenured offensive starters. The fact that Green and Dalton are now at the same stage of family life has helped, according to the quarterback.
“We’ve gotten closer I think because of it,” Dalton said of both he and Green now having children, via Paul Dehner Jr. of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “We have been at different phases in life. I came in married and he was dating. Then, I had a kid, he got married. Now he has a kid, too, so now we are finally at the same stage so I feel like it’s made us kind of closer. Not that we weren’t able to relate before, but now we really understand what each other is going through off the field, too.”
Green’s son is now 9 months old, greeting the Pro Bowl wide receiver daily when he returns home with regularity.
The 28-year-old wide receiver agrees with Dalton’s assessment about this path in their lives strengthening their bond. The Bengals lost auxiliary playmakers last offseason and lost their best two starting linemen this year, putting more onus on the passing duo. Dalton’s second son was born in January.
“We came in together and now our relationship is getting better each year,” Green said. “It’s definitely better now with the kids because now I can relate, we talk about little stuff like that.”
Green made his sixth Pro Bowl in six seasons last year, doing so despite an injury cutting his season short after 10 games. He averaged a career-high 96.4 yards per game.