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A.J. Green Declares for NFL Draft; Georgia Bulldogs Fans Bid Beloved Receiver Fond Farewell

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Major news organizations keep prewritten eulogies in the can for famous people who are in poor health and/or are getting up in years. Yeah, it’s a little morbid, but it saves time when celebrity deaths occur. Along similar (though, thankfully, less tragic) lines, I considered preparing in advance the posting I would put up when A.J. Green declared early for the NFL draft.

It occurred to me, though, that getting ready for such a moment was like getting ready for the sun to set; since we knew it was going to happen, what was the sense in planning ahead to report on the inevitable? For most of us, the response the report elicited was less "Dang!" than "Duh!"

As I noted at the end of Mohamed Massaquoi’s career in Athens, Georgia fans have tended to be tough on our wide receivers, which makes Green’s career in silver britches all the more remarkable: A.J. arguably is the first noteworthy Bulldog wide receiver since Lindsay Scott to have left the Classic City more popular than he was when he arrived.

Green departs Athens with 166 receptions for 2,619 yards and 23 touchdowns. Those numbers place A.J. behind only four-year players Terrence Edwards and Brice Hunter for career catches, Edwards and Fred Gibson for career receiving yards, and Edwards for career TD grabs. Had Green elected to return for his senior season, he would have shattered every receiving mark in the school record book; heck, had he not sold that infernal jersey, those four extra games might have made the difference between second or third and first place.

He did sell the jersey, though, and I suspect he did so, in part, because A.J. comes from a financial background substantially less secure than that from which most of us emerged. This, therefore, was the fiscally responsible decision for Green to make, and no denizen of Bulldog Nation ought to begrudge him the choice we all knew was coming. All that falls to us to do is to thank him for three years of giving his all, wish him well at the next level, and prepare to root for whichever NFL franchise is fortunate enough to secure his services.

Go ‘Dawgs!