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Sunday, January 9, 2011

A.J. Green makes it official

What was long expected is now done: A.J. Green has declared for the NFL draft, passing on his senior year at Georgia.

The news came in a release by UGA a little after 12:30 p.m. on Sunday.

"While it was a difficult decision, it came down to the opportunity of pursuing a dream I've had since early childhood," Green said in a statement released by the school. "But Georgia is a great place and I'm so appreciative of the opportunity to be a Georgia Bulldog. I want to thank the coaches, my teammates and the fans who have supported me and helped me grow not only as a player but as a man."

Green currently ranks as the top receiver on a lot of draft boards, and there's an outside chance he could go first overall to Carolina.

The Summerville, S.C., native said last week that he would tell Georgia head coach Mark Richt his decision before letting the news break, and he was true to his word.

"A.J. has made an immeasurable impact on our team over the past three seasons and we wish him nothing but the best," Richt said in a statement. "I've enjoyed the blessing of working with him and getting to know his family and we wish him all the success in professional football. Once a Bulldog always a Bulldog."

Green finishes his career with 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns. He missed the first four games of the 2010 season after being suspended by the NCAA for selling a game jersey for $1,000 to someone defined as an agent.

There will be a teleconference with Green in a few minutes, and I'll have an update following that.

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Here's what Green had to say on a teleconference:

- He told Richt of the decision a couple days ago but still wasn't sure enough to make it official until Saturday.

“Throughout the past couple weeks it was pretty hectic, just making a strong decision for my family, and it just came down to what’s best for me and them," Green said. "And we made the best decision from that.”

- A projected NFL rookie salary cap or lockout didn’t have an impact.

“If I really thought about that I probably would’ve stayed in school. You really can’t have that as a factor, because you don’t know what’s going to be true.”

- Green spoke to Matt Stafford earlier in the week, as well as Mohammed Massaquoi.

“They gave me great advice,” Green said.

- He last spoke to the other juniors contemplating the draft - such as Justin Houston, Brandon Boykin and Cordy Glenn - a couple weeks ago, and had no idea of their leanings.

- Asked about his career at Georgia, Green said it hurt not to have been on a championship team, but otherwise felt good about how it went.

“I believe I had a great career at Georgia, coming in as a freshman I never thought I’d have that opportunity that I have now to make that step after my third year,” he said.

- He said he’s not thinking about being the No. 1 pick, and hasn’t picked an agent or decided where to train.

“I’m having too improve my game a lot," Green said of playing at the next level. "I’m going to have to get a little bigger, a little faster, a little stronger. But I feel I’m up to that challenge.”

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Richt said, "...once a Bulldog always a Bulldog."

Unless you're Will Muschamp.

Anonymous said...

+1 Anon. 1:15.

AJ is one of the greatest "talents" in Georgia history.

But will he go down as an all-time great? I say no way.

Anonymous said...

Good luck at the next level AJ. The Dawg Nation is going to miss you!

Anonymous said...

Go sell that pathetic Liberty Bowl jersey now Mr. ME... Good Riddance !