Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow on collaborating at OTA — ‘Actually vital for me to be right here’


CINCINNATI – For the first time since November, Cincinnati Bengals Quarterback Joe Burrow was back on the field for some team activity.

Burrow, who wore braces on his left knee, tossed passports to his teammates and attended the volunteer OTA on Tuesday. It was the first time Burrow had been on the field with the rest of the Bengals since tearing multiple ligaments in his left knee against Washington last season.

Burrow said he was at about “80 to 85 percent” when he threw passes during light exercises on the Bengals’ practice field in front of Paul Brown Stadium. While limited, Burrow said it was important for him to be present at the OTA as he has leadership status on the team.

“We have a lot of new faces on this team who have to see me and work there,” said Burrow. “It was really important for me to be here.”

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Burrow and almost all of his teammates attended Tuesday’s practice session. The players agreed that all of them will be showing a scaled down version of OTAs in the past few years. Burrow, the top 2020 draft pick, participated in various exercises as he continued the rehabilitation process.

Bengal manager Zac Taylor said it was the first time he saw Burrow throw against teammates and his presence was good for the spirit of a team that ended on a 4-11-1 record last season.

“He’s a leader on the team, and that’s exactly what the executives do,” said Taylor. “They want to be there, whether they do a lot or a little. We have a lot of people like him in the building right now and that’s exciting to see, but he’s certainly the leader of the team.”

The third-year coach pointed out that what Burrow did on Tuesday was similar to his activities with private coaches like quarterback coach Jordan Palmer and Nick Cosgray, Cincinnati’s director of rehabilitation and performance. Taylor said he doesn’t expect Burrow to increase his attendance as the team goes through the OTA portion of the off-season.

“We’re not going to push the envelope here,” he said.

Burrow said his goal is to “be full of it” for training camp and hopes he won’t be restricted. The former Heisman Trophy winner said he hopes to play in some pre-season matches to shake off any rust before the season kicks off. However, Taylor hinted that it is far too early to discuss when he will play in the exhibition games.

Various parts of Burrow’s rehab process have been made public since the injury he sustained against Washington on November 22, 2020. He was seen throwing with Palmer in California. Black Sheep Performance, a Cincinnati gym, posted a video of Burrow doing various strength exercises as he works to gain another 5 to 10 pounds before the season starts.

In his first press conference since January, Burrow explained why it is so important for him to work with his teammates on Tuesday

“I just didn’t want to show up and do my own thing,” said Burrow. “I’ve got to the point where I can, even if I couldn’t do everything if my knee was smaller than it is now. I would still be here and be with everyone and want to communicate and call plays.” Heap.”

Bengal Safety Jessie Bates, who is now the team’s NFLPA representative, said he was excited to see Burrow lift his knees and do warm-ups before training lasted nearly 90 minutes on Tuesday.

“I think we all see the reports of the idea that he will play week 1,” said Bates. “But it’s kind of exciting to see it with your own eyes and have inside information instead of everyone else guessing.”