Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick warned his struggling team of the consequences should it elect to trade Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green.
Green, who has been sidelined following preseason ankle surgery, is a free agent after this season.
The 31-year-old’s name has been tossed about in potential trade scenarios with the Bengals off to an 0-5 start, much to the chagrin of Kirkpatrick.
“It better not happen. It’s going to fall apart if you do that,” the 29-year-old Kirkpatrick said. “That’s our best player on the team. He’s not even out there. We don’t know how the team really should look. They can’t do that.
“I’m a team player first. I rally around my guys. That would really hurt my spirit if he walked out this door. … I want everybody to stay. I want to win here. I don’t want to go anywhere. I’m not just a player for the Bengals. I do things in the community. A lot of guys in here do.”
CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora reported on Sunday that the New England Patriots could have interest in Green ahead of the NFL trade deadline, which is set for Oct. 29. The Patriots saw the Antonio Brown experience fizzle while rookies Jakobi Meyers and N’Keal Harry (injured reserve) have yet contribute to a wide receiver corps that includes Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon.
Green has collected 602 receptions for 8,907 yards and 63 touchdowns in 111 games since the Bengals selected him fourth overall in the 2011 NFL Draft. He recorded season-lows in catches (46) and receiving yards (694) last season after sitting out the last seven games with a toe injury.