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Bengals receiver A.J. Green won't play in Pro Bowl
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By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI (AP) Bengals receiver A.J. Green expects his injured right hamstring to be fully recovered in a few weeks, but he's not going to play in the Pro Bowl.
Green severely strained the hamstring on Nov. 20 and didn't play the rest of the season, even though he felt he was ready. Green practiced without problem and accompanied the team to Houston for a game on Dec. 24, expecting to play, but the front office decided to hold him out. The Bengals (6-9-1) had already been eliminated from playoff contention.
"Coach (Marvin) Lewis' plan was for me to play," Green said. "And they came to the decision that I didn't need to play at all."
Green said he ran hard during practice leading up to the Houston game and didn't have an issue, even though a scan of the hamstring indicated it wasn't completely healed. The front office was concerned about how he would respond to being tackled.
"I pushed it all the way," Green said. "I don't feel any kind of pain or fatigue on it. One thing they were worried about was people hanging on me. So that's the only thing they were worried about."
Green said the hamstring should be back to normal within a couple of weeks. He was voted into the Pro Bowl for the sixth time, but won't play in the game.
Green was on his way to his best season when he got hurt. Despite missing essentially the last seven games, he finished the season leading the team with 66 catches for 964 yards.
He came up 36 yards shy of his sixth straight 1,000-yard season. Randy Moss is the only player who has started his career with six 1,000-yard seasons, and Green wanted to join him.
"I wanted to get the 1,000, but doctors know best and I didn't want to put my whole career in jeopardy to try to go for 36 yards," Green said. "So, it's tough."
The Bengals missed Green, running back Giovani Bernard and tight end Tyler Eifert in the final games. Bernard tore an ACL in the same game that Green got hurt. Eifert missed the last two games because of a problem with a disk in his back. He had surgery last week to have part of the disk removed.
Eifert has had the back issue for years. It flared up earlier this season when he was recovering from offseason ankle surgery.
During his four-year career, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end has missed games because of neck, shoulder, elbow, ankle and back injuries. He expects to be ready for offseason workouts.
"It's annoying when I get labeled injury-prone because I just go out and play," Eifert said. "I play hard and, you know, I've had some bad breaks."
Notes: Lewis is under contract through 2017. He said on Monday that he'd be fine with playing out his contract, which he also did in 2010 before getting an extension. "I've gone into the last year before and everything has worked out fine," Lewis said. "We'll see what happens this year. I expect it will be fine, either one way or another. I'm not concerned about that." ... The Bengals signed five players from their practice squad to future contracts: DE Ryan Brown, DT David Dean, CB Tony McRae, G Alex Redmond, WR Alonzo Russell.
For more NFL coverage: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
Updated January 2, 2017