'Lifelong friends' Daltons and Greens navigate NFL life together


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  • Ben BabyESPN Staff Writer



CINCINNATI -- The more time Cincinnati's duo of Dalton and Green spent around each other, the more the news was bound to break eventually.
One of them was pregnant.





For the past couple of years, Jordan Dalton and Miranda Green have spent virtually every day together in the gym. As the intensity of their workouts decreased in 2018, it was only a matter of time before Green realized that Dalton, who goes by JJ, was expecting her third child.

"It was pretty comical to see how our workouts went from really intense and crazy to just gotta make it through, just gotta make it happen," Dalton, 31, told ESPN.

Less than two months later, Green was expecting too. It was only natural that the pair were experiencing another stage of life together.

In 2011, their husbands became cornerstones of the Cincinnati Bengals franchise. Wide receiver A.J. Green was drafted in the first round, and quarterback Andy Dalton was taken in the second. Over the years, as Cincinnati has signed and released hundreds of players, the two have enjoyed one of the most unique bonds in the NFL. After nearly a decade as teammates, their wives have a relationship that is arguably equally strong.

"We see each other every single day," Miranda Green, 28, said. "We probably spend as much time together as A.J. and Andy, in a sense."

A.J. and Miranda Green with Andy and Jordan Dalton at their 2015 wedding. @ajgreen_18W

hen A.J., 31, entered the league as the fourth overall pick in the draft, he and Miranda were still dating. They met on Facebook, and in one of their first phone conversations, A.J. tried to use his South Carolina accent to joke that he was originally from the Virgin Islands.

Miranda went from attending home games to becoming a greater Cincinnati resident once they were engaged in 2013. At the Greens' 2015 wedding, the Daltons were among those to celebrate the newlyweds. One year later, Andy and JJ watched the Greens get baptized together.

After the Daltons had their second of three children, Nash, in 2017, JJ turned to Miranda to switch up her gym routine. Initially, they started with strength training. Now they see each other every weekday. They lift weights four days a week. On Monday and Thursday, they add boxing into the mix.

And now the workout partners have a lot more to discuss than football.

Their kids attend the same school. They hired the same chef and eat the same meals. They go to Bible studies together, including the one at the Daltons' house on Monday nights. Their toddlers play soccer on the same team.

And as their husbands have experienced a series of highs and lows over the past nine seasons, including the offseason coaching change from Marvin Lewis to Zac Taylor, they have a friend going through all of the same experiences.

"We have a lot of the same backstory," Miranda Green said. "Even going through this new coaching staff and us seeing what it was like with Marvin, with Zac and everything, it's great to have somebody who's been through it all with us."

The relationship between the husbands has also flourished over the years. Andy and A.J. are second in franchise history in total yardage at their positions. Dalton needs 3,760 yards to break Ken Anderson's record for passing yards (32,838). Green is 1,877 yards shy of passing Chad Ochocinco for the most receiving yards in Cincinnati history (10,783).

Tight end C.J. Uzomah said there are times when he'll walk into a huddle and just know a ball will be headed to A.J., who will miss Monday's game against the Pittsburgh Steelers while he recovers from the ankle injury that has kept him out all season.

Both players helped the Bengals reach the postseason five straight times from 2011 to '15. Before that, the Bengals had only two postseason runs since their most recent playoff win in 1991.

"Everything that we've done, we've experienced together," Andy Dalton said. "It's been fun to grow closer as friends over the years. Obviously, we've had a great working relationship, but then you put more to that."

The chemistry that has helped Dalton and Green combine for 8,526 yards and 58 touchdowns in 103 games together might now be even stronger between their wives.

Leading into this season, Miranda and JJ swapped notes on what baby products they were enjoying with their newborns. Soon enough, their family suites at Cincinnati's Paul Brown Stadium had almost all the same products: high chairs, play pens, play mats.

"It just works out when you have someone that you trust, and you know it works," JJ Dalton said.

Before a recent workout, JJ and Miranda showed up wearing almost the same outfit. The only difference was that Miranda sported cheetah-print shoes, and JJ's feet were covered in snakeskin.

But the dynamics of the relationship between the Daltons and Greens could be changing soon. Andy's six-year, $96 million contract expires in 2020. A.J. will be an unrestricted free agent once his four-year, $60 million deal is up at the end of this season.

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"Stuff is happening," A.J. Green said earlier in September regarding his contract negotiations. "But we're trying to get healthy and make sure I'm fine to where I can go out there and play. I don't really get into all that. I let my agent handle all that other stuff."


Cincinnati's front office could have a pivotal decision about the quarterback position. The Bengals used a fourth-round pick on Ryan Finley this year and could have a top-five pick in 2020, when Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa and Oregon's Justin Herbert could be available.

For now, however, the on-field task is to turn the Bengals back into playoff contenders after three straight losing seasons. Off the field, the Daltons and Greens are in the process of raising their young children.

On Sept. 20, the Greens rented an inflatable room at an indoor playground for their son Easton's third birthday party. Easton, Nash Dalton, 2, and Noah Dalton, 5, were running around while babies Gunnar Green, six months, and Finley Dalton, eight months, rolled around on foam tiles. It was one moment of many the two families have shared over the past nine years.

"It's been such a blessing to be able to call this home for so many years," Miranda Green said. "And right, we don't know what the future will bring, but we do know we have lifelong friends in Andy and JJ."


https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/...-life-together