Burrow should put his foot down and say no to Cincinnati


Michael Conroy | Associated Press

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow speaks during a press conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Tuesday, Feb. 25, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

By Matt Boecker

Former Louisiana State University quarterback Joe Burrow said he will not refuse to play for the Cincinnati Bengals if drafted by them first overall at this year’s NFL Draft.

“I’m not going to not play,” Burrow said to the media at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. “I’m a ballplayer. Whoever takes me, I’m going to show up.”

Considering the history of failure the Bengals’ have accumulated, Burrow should put aside his pride and refuse to play in Cincinnati.

Burrow built quite the resume during his final season at LSU. The Athens, Ohio native won the Heisman Trophy as well as the College Football Playoff National Championship. He is also the Associated Press College Football Player of the Year, to name a few of his impressive accomplishments.

The Bengals, on the other hand, are the antithesis of success. They haven’t won a playoff game since 1991 – a streak that is five years older than Burrow, who was born in 1996.

Former Bengal quarterback Carson Palmer warned Burrow about the fate that may await him if he’s drafted to Cincinnati. Palmer was drafted first overall by the Bengals in the 2003 NFL Draft and went on to play seven seasons in Cincinnati.

In an interview with the the D.A. Show on CBS Sports Radio, Palmer talked about the lack of a positive culture within the Bengal’s organization. Palmer said he never felt like the Bengals did what it took to win it all.

“That’s why I wanted out,” Palmer said. “I never felt like the [Bengals] organization was really trying to win a Super Bowl, and really chasing the Super Bowl. Because that’s what today’s day and age is. The game today is you can’t just hope you draft well and not go after free agents and you just end up in the Super Bowl. You gotta go get it.”

If Burrow refused to play in Cincinnati, it would be expected that his character comes under scrutiny. People may wonder why he doesn’t just play with whichever team drafts him, like most players do after being drafted. But Burrow wouldn’t be the first to pull such a move.

Former Oakland Raiders running back Bo Jackson appeared in an NFL Pro Bowl after refusing to play for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jackson’s NFL career had much promise, but was cut short by injury.

Former Denver Broncos quarterback John Elway was inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame despite having refused to play for the Baltimore Colts in 1983.

Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers after being drafted by the team in 2004. In his time in New York, Manning was a two time Super Bowl Champion.

I’m sure many questioned the character of these players after they decided to make a decision they thought was best for their career. Yet, they went on to have successful careers, and no longer do people question their character.

By committing to playing for the Bengals if drafted by them, Burrow could be jeopardizing his career before it even begins. A negative start to his career could send him on a negative trajectory during his time in the NFL.

By refusing to suit up for the Bengals, Burrow could land in a much better situation with another team that is more driven to win.