Ego can be best described as a double-sided coin. On one side, ego could possibly destroy locker rooms in the NFL, allowing personal obligations and beliefs to be put ahead of team-oriented goals and aspirations.
On the other side of the coin, a certain amount of ego is required to be a top-tier receiver in today's era of football that frequently requires the talents of pass-catchers more than ever before.
Arizona Cardinals receiver A.J. Green, once considered to be a top-tier receiver, now finds himself in an offense where he won't be the featured weapon for likely the first time in his football career.
And he's perfectly fine with that.
Embrace the Unknown
"My thing is, I don't want to be forced the ball, and here, I don't have to be forced the ball. You got Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) on one side, you got me on the other side, you got (Christian) Kirk working the middle. It creates a lot of matchups, and that's why I picked this place," Green said on Thursday.
Entering his 11th season in the league at the age of 32, Green still believes there's gas left in the tank. That fuel now will be able to be utilized more efficiently with a handful of other pass-catchers on the field with him.
For Green, it's all about taking the next opportunity of his career one step at a time. Almost literally.
"I want to be out there every rep (for practice), taking the reps, feeling good," said Green. "I'm a guy they want to give me the vet days off, and I am telling them no, because I want to get out there and get the chemistry down."
Green says he's learned his mentality from Larry Fitzgerald, a player who he often chats with. Green made it very clear their conversations don't steer from discussing what local golf courses to play.
Rebounding the Right Way
His tenure in Cincinnati ended less than ideally for both the team and Green. Green missed 23 games over his last three seasons as a member of the Bengals, combining for just 93 catches in a stretch that included an entire season lost due to torn ligaments in his ankle.
"I think it pushed me even more mentally," said Green about going through those challenges. "I came into this league, seven Pro Bowls, 1,000-yard seasons, everything was pretty sweet. Last two or three years, it's been a roller-coaster. If you push for greatness, you're going to have those ups and downs and battle through adversity."
A healthy Green could work wonders for a Cardinals offense that so desperately has been trying to reach it's Lombardi-worthy potential. The yards and touchdowns are sure to come to Green, thanks to the players and offensive system he currently finds himself in.
However, that's merely a thought for the future. For now, Green looks to take the upcoming season one rep at a time.