Joe Burrow didn’t have much to say—you don’t need an overactive imagination to figure out why—as he was loaded onto a cart near the Bengals’ end zone at FedEx Field on Sunday, amid a crush of his Cincinnati teammates, plus a few old Ohio State teammates of his playing for Washington, who’d come over to check on him.
By then, he knew, and they did too. No one had to wait for the MRI. The first overall pick’s rookie year was over. And, as a result, there really wasn’t much to say at that point.
“He wasn’t really in a mood to talk anybody [on the field],” Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor said, after getting back to Ohio late Sunday night. “I can promise you that.”
Yet, at 3:56 p.m., an hour after the cart pulled off the field in Landover, Md., and just as the Bengals’ 20–9 loss to Washington was wrapping up, Burrow fired off this tweet: “Thanks for all the love. Can’t get rid of me that easy. See ya next year.” Less than an hour after that, Taylor found a quarterback who suddenly was in a mood to talk as team busses buzzed down the beltway for the airport.
“He was upbeat as you can possibly be. He just wanted to talk about the game, to be honest with you,” Taylor continued. “He wanted to talk about the looks that we were getting in the second half, when he wasn’t even in the game. So for a guy that could be facing what could be a season-ending injury, just to want to talk about the things he didn’t see in the third and fourth quarter, it just speaks to his makeup. It’s incredible.”
Burrow, in general, has been incredible for a Bengals franchise that has really needed him to be, as it rebuilds its roster around a native son of a new quarterback. And as if he was looking for it, Taylor got affirmation on Sunday, on a really tough day in Burrow’s athletic life, that the 23-year-old star will continue to be incredible for some time to come.
The expectation is that further testing Monday will confirm what was obvious to everyone on the field, and to anyone with so much as an NFL RedZone subscription, from the minute Jonathan Allen was blocked into Burrow’s knee, and Montez Sweat came over the top and folded the rookie’s left leg back the wrong way in the process. And many of us will spend time on Monday assessing the damage done here.
Burrow, on the other hand, is already trying to look forward, which is part of what makes him who he is—and what got him here in the first place.
Lots of fun stuff to dig through from a very eventful NFL Sunday. Including …
• The Colts’ survival of a slow start and a weird rash of crunch-time penalties.
• The Titans’ toughness shining through one more time.
• The Browns’ arrival at another milestone in Year 1 of the Kevin Stefanski era.
• Taysom Hill’s debut as the Saints’ starting quarterback.
But we’re starting with the big story of Week 11, which unfortunately happens to be a very unhappy one.
A couple starts into Burrow’s NFL career, back in September, Taylor gave me a very simple assessment of where his quarterback was. “As advertised,” he…
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