Joe Burrow

MCL Sprain For Bengals’ Joe Burrow

After the Bengals announced a brand new deal for head coach Zac Taylor, they delivered even more good news on Wednesday. Quarterback Joe Burrow is only dealing with an MCL sprain, according to doctors, which means that he won’t need surgery this offseason. 

[RELATED: Bengals Sign Zac Taylor To Extension]

Burrow went down in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl clutching his right knee. He was clearly in pain after the takedown from Von Miller, but still managed to finish out the game. Fortunately, this shouldn’t hamper him in the 2022 season.

Burrow has dealt with much worse in the past, including the 2020 offseason when he had to rehab from a torn ACL (and MCL). Since then, the Bengals have prioritized their offensive line, but it’s safe to say that they’ll do even more on that front this spring.

In the regular season, Burrow played in 16 games and led the league with 70.4% of his throws completed. His TD/INT ratio (34-14) further positioned him as one of the NFL’s brightest young talents. Even though he didn’t capture a ring on Sunday, it stands to reason that he’ll have plenty more opportunities in the years to come, starting with the ’22 campaign.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow Avoided Serious Injury During Super Bowl

Joe Burrow suffered a knee injury during the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl. Fortunately, it sounds like the Bengals QB avoided a serious injury. According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (and passed along by’s Chase Goodbread), Burrow suffered a sprain that will not require surgery.

Burrow suffered the injury with 11:55 remaining in the game. The QB was sacked by Rams defender Von Miller, and replays showed Burrow yelling in pain after landing on the ground. The former first-overall pick limped to the sideline, but he was able to return to the field and finish the game.

All of Cincinnati surely held their breath while Burrow limped off the field, especially following a 2020 campaign when Burrow was knocked out by a torn ACL and MCL. Fortunately, Burrow escaped serious injury this time around, but the knee sprain just emphasizes the Bengals’ need for more protection in front of their franchise quarterback.

Burrow got into 16 games during his sophomore season, completing a league-leading 70.4 percent of his passes while tossing 34 touchdowns vs. 14 interceptions. The 25-year-old also had a strong postseason, throwing another five touchdowns.

Dolphins Were Prepared To Trade All Three 2020 First-Round Picks To Bengals For Joe Burrow

The Dolphins’ pursuit of the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft was well-documented. Though the team was connected to Alabama passer Tua Tagovailoa for much of the 2019 season — Tank For Tua, anyone? — Joe Burrow‘s transcendent 2019 performance with LSU and Tagovailoa’s injury troubles made Burrow the top-ranked QB in his class on big boards across the NFL.

The rebuilding Miami outfit was supposed to be bad enough to secure 2020’s No. 1 pick — and, by extension, Burrow — without having to make a trade, but a surprising 5-4 finish to the 2019 season resulted in the club landing the No. 5 overall selection (and as Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk posits, then-head coach Brian Flores‘ refusal to heed owner Stephen Ross‘ alleged mandate to tank may have marked the beginning of the rift that eventually led to Flores’ dismissal this year). The Bengals, meanwhile, stumbled into the top pick and found themselves in pole position for Burrow.

Still armed with three first-round choices (Nos. 5, 18, and 26) thanks to myriad transactions emblematic of a rebuilding club, the Dolphins did their best to acquire the No. 1 pick from Cincinnati. That gambit included trying to prise the No. 3 overall pick from the Lions, which Miami intended to trade to the Bengals, along with its own No. 5 selection, in exchange for the No. 1 choice.

While acquiring the No. 3 pick without giving up the No. 5 always seemed like a longshot, Ian Rapoport of wrote this morning that the ‘Fins were willing to give up all three of their own first-rounders — and potentially more — to jump up to No. 1 and nab Burrow. However, Bengals brass had no interest in entertaining any offers, regardless of how tempting they might have been, and quickly rebuffed Miami’s overtures.

In hindsight, it’s hard to argue with that decision (though Florio faults Ross for not calling Bengals owner Mike Brown directly to make a pitch while also faulting Brown for not even listening to what the Dolphins were putting on the table). Burrow rebounded from a torn ACL that cut his rookie season short and enjoyed a tremendous sophomore campaign, leading the league in completion percentage (70.4%) and yards per attempt (8.9) despite being sacked a league-high 51 times. Most importantly, of course, is the fact that he has his team on the brink of its first Super Bowl appearance since 1989.

Although it’s possible to envision a scenario in which the Bengals acquired Miami’s three first-rounders and still made their current postseason run — perhaps with Justin Herbert, selected by the Chargers with 2020’s No. 6 overall pick, under center — Burrow’s success has Bengals fans perfectly content with the way things worked out. The Dolphins, meanwhile, ended up with Tagovailoa after all, and are hopeful that whomever they hire as their new head coach will help him find the consistent professional success that has thus far eluded him.

Joe Burrow Will Not Be Placed On PUP List

Joe Burrow‘s recovery from a torn ACL and MCL (and related damage) in Week 11 of the 2020 season continues to go well. The Bengals’ QB participated in OTAs this spring, and the team has announced that Burrow will not open training camp on the PUP list. 

That means, of course, that Burrow will be leading his troops when camp opens on Tuesday, and he will seek to build upon what was a promising rookie campaign. Despite dealing with a porous offensive line, Burrow completed 65.3% of his passes for 13 touchdowns against five interceptions in his ten games last season.

This offseason, Cincinnati reunited Burrow with former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, generally considered the top receiver in the Class of 2021. In Chase, Tee Higgins, and Tyler Boyd, Burrow has a loaded receiving corps to work with.

Hopefully, they’ve done enough to protect him up front as well. Free agent acquisition Riley Reiff should upgrade the right tackle slot, but while the Bengals drafted three rookie blockers — Jackson Carman, D’Ante Smith, and Trey Hill — they did not add much other proven talent. They did re-up Quinton Spain and recently claimed Lamont Gaillard off waivers from the Cardinals, so head coach Zac Taylor will at least have plenty of players to choose from in his search for a capable front five.

With quality protection for Burrow and running back Joe Mixon, the Bengals’ offense could be among the league’s best in 2021.

Joe Burrow At Bengals OTAs

With each piece of good news, Bengals fans can continue to breathe a little easier. Last week we heard Joe Burrow was on track for Week 1, and now the second-year quarterback has taken another step in the right direction.

Burrow participated in the teams OTAs on Tuesday, as Paul Dehner Jr. of The Athletic tweets. You can check out a video of Burrow throwing a few passes and looking fairly strong on his surgically repaired knee courtesy of this tweet from James Rapien of SI Now. Burrow, of course, is coming off a significant injury that included ACL and MCL tears as well as some other damage.

Cincy is going to be cautious with their expected savior of the franchise, so the fact that he’s doing any work at all in May is a good sign that his recovery has gone as well as could be hoped for. After practice head coach Zac Taylor said “we are not pushing the envelope,” which means nobody is allowed within ten feet of Burrow, Dehner tweets.

Seriously. Any running backs running routes are motioned out wide to end up as far from Burrow as possible. No word yet on if the team will be layering him in bubble wrap for minicamp. For his part, Burrow said his knee is at “80-85 percent.”

As for his first Bengals passes to former LSU teammate Ja’Marr Chase, who Burrow reportedly had a role in drafting, he said “it was a little rusty at first but we got it back pretty quick.” The former Heisman winner also said he’d be wearing a knee brace, something he’s not a fan of, calling the process of picking one finding the “lesser of the evils.”

North Notes: Chase, Steelers, Vikings

The Bengals encountered some scrutiny for passing on Penei Sewell to take Ja’Marr Chase at No. 5, given their issues on the offensive line. But the Chase-over-Sewell stance formed weeks ahead of the draft. Bengals brass went to Joe Burrow for a detailed opinion on this matter. Chase having played a key part in Burrow winning the 2019 Heisman Trophy, and Jeremy Fowler of notes the second-year quarterback gave his ex-LSU teammate a strong endorsement. Chase-to-Cincinnati gained considerable steam ahead of the draft, and the Bengals followed through with the move to add the impact receiver prospect to a wideout group that includes Tyler Boyd and 2020 second-rounder Tee Higgins. The Bengals viewed Chase as the kind of talent too good to pass up, Fowler adds. The Bengals drafted offensive linemen in the second, fourth and sixth rounds, with Jackson Carman — whom the team selected after trading down eight spots — being the most notable of these additions.

Here is the latest from the North divisions:

  • Continuing recent tradition, the Raiders surprised draft viewers with their first-round pick. The Jon GrudenMike Mayock regime chose Alex Leatherwood 17th overall. The Alabama tackle was viewed by most as a major reach; Scouts Inc. rated him as this draft’s 60th-best prospect. The Raiders may have been leery of two teams eyeing Leatherwood in the back half of Round 1, however. The Steelers and Vikings had Leatherwood on their respective radars, per Fowler. The Vikings drafted Virginia Tech’s Christian Darrisaw (Scouts Inc.’s No. 20 overall prospect) at No. 23. Pittsburgh preferred him to most of the draft’s second-tier tackles, but the team appeared locked in on ex-Leatherwood teammate Najee Harris at No. 24. Leatherwood is expected to work as a right tackle in Las Vegas.
  • Although the Steelers’ depth chart has the look of one that would benefit from a veteran tackle addition, they do not appear to be eyeing one in the post-draft period of free agency. Despite Alejandro Villanueva defecting to the Ravens and the Steelers not drafting a tackle before Round 4, the team likes its left tackle setup, Mark Kaboly of The Athletic notes (subscription required). Pittsburgh lost three O-line starters — Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Feiler — this offseason and is planning to move right tackle Chukwuma Okorafor to the left side. Pro Football Focus viewed Okorafor as one of the league’s worst tackles in 2020, grading him 70th at the position. Okorafor spent the 2018 and ’19 seasons as a backup, moving into the Steelers’ starting lineup after Zach Banner‘s Week 1 ACL tear. Banner has re-signed and is expected to compete for the right tackle job.
  • Thanks to the Lions’ $13.5MM-per-year extension for Frank Ragnow, the NFL has a new highest-paid center.
  • The Bears did not become aggressive in their effort to trade up for Justin Fields until draft day, when they identified a few teams as trade-down candidates and engaged in negotiations.

Bengals’ Joe Burrow On Track For Week 1

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is on track to suit up for the season opener. The former No. 1 overall pick is “all systems go” for Sept. 12 against the Vikings, per Dr. Neal ElAttrache (Twitter link via’s Adam Schefter). 

That’s welcome news for the second-year quarterback who is returning from severe knee injuries suffered in late November. The damage, which included ACL and MCL tears, put Burrow in a nine-month rehab program.

I’m very optimistic about where I’m at and also where the team’s at,” Burrow said back in April (via’s Ben Baby). “Rehab is going very, very well. Lifting is going very, very well. I’m in great shape. Legs feel good. Knee feels goodThere’s still opportunities for setbacks. But the way I’m feeling right now, I’m very optimistic that I’ll be ready Game 1.”

The former Heisman Trophy winner finished his injury-shorted season with 2,688 yards, 13 touchdowns, and just five interceptions through nine-plus games. Burrow did it all in spite of his patchwork offensive line — Bengals coaches say they’ll do a better job of protecting him this year.

The Bengals re-signed Brandon Allen this offseason, but the hope is that he’ll be holding the clipboard throughout 2021. Beyond Allen, the Bengals also have Kyle Shurmur, Collin Hill, and Eric Dungey on the offseason roster.

Bengals Expect Week 1 Joe Burrow Return

During a recent interview, Joe Burrow expressed optimism he would be ready to return by the start of the regular season. The second-year quarterback is attempting to make his way back from severe knee injuries sustained in late November.

The Bengals are also optimistic their franchise centerpiece can complete his recovery from ACL and MCL tears, along with other knee damage, by Week 1. Player personnel director Duke Tobin said Wednesday he expects Burrow to be ready when the Bengals open their season, via The Athletic’s Paul Dehner Jr. (on Twitter).

Appearing on the Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman, Burrow said he is ahead of schedule on the approximate nine-month rehab process. While it cannot be assumed the 2020 No. 1 overall pick will participate fully in training camp or take any snaps during Cincinnati’s preseason slate, a Burrow Week 1 return would be a positive development after these injuries sidetracked his strong rookie season.

I’m very optimistic about where I’m at and also where the team’s at,” Burrow said during the podcast, via’s Ben Baby. “Rehab is going very, very well. Lifting is going very, very well. I’m in great shape. Legs feel good. Knee feels good.

… It’s about a nine-month recovery process. So there’s still a long way to go. There’s still opportunities for setbacks. But the way I’m feeling right now, I’m very optimistic that I’ll be ready Game 1.”

Previously during Burrow’s rehab odyssey, he faced the prospect of being out well into the regular season. But throughout 2021, the former Heisman-winning passer’s timeline has pointed to Week 1. The Bengals re-signed Brandon Allen this offseason. The longtime NFL backup/third-stringer would seemingly be tabbed to start the season, should Burrow’s return goal prove too ambitious.

Bengals Targeting Ja’Marr Chase?

The Bengals are “targeting” wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, Tyler Dragon of The Enquirer hears (Twitter link). With the No. 5 overall pick, the Bengals may be able to reunite the LSU star with his old quarterback, Joe Burrow.

[RELATED: Bengals Release Giovani Bernard]

Cincinnati has invested a first- or second-round pick in the wide receiver position in three of the past five years. Still, they’re moving ahead without A.J. Green and John Ross, so Chase would be a welcome addition to the offense. Meanwhile, Burrow has reportedly stumped for a reunion with Chase, who went off for 84 catches, 1,780 yards, and 20 touchdowns last time they played together in 2019.

The Bengals figure to have lots of options available at No. 5 — particularly if the Falcons draft a quarterback at No. 4. In a worst-case scenario, only one of this year’s top non-QBs will be there for the taking. In a best-case scenario, Chase, Oregon tackle Penei Sewell, and Florida tight end Kyle Pitts will all be available. From the latest rumblings, it sounds like Chase would be their choice.

Latest On Bengals’ Draft Plans

Three quarterbacks will almost certainly go off the board to start this year’s draft, marking the first time in 22 years that will have taken place. The Falcons are undecided on whether they should acquire Matt Ryan‘s heir apparent at No. 4. This puts the Bengals in position to land perhaps this draft’s top non-quarterback.

Picking fifth without a quarterback need, the Bengals will have a bevy of high-end offensive prospects from which to choose. Considering the issues they have had on their offensive line in recent years, they have been linked to Oregon tackle Penei Sewell. Zac Taylor, player personnel director Duke Tobin and offensive line coach Frank Pollack were in Eugene, Ore., for Sewell’s pro day, Tyler Dragon of the Cincinnati Enquirer tweets. Pollack told attendees Sewell impressed him, Tony Pauline of tweets.

Sewell would make sense as a player who could be a long-term starter opposite left tackle Jonah Williams, but Tobin said the Bengals can acquire a starter-caliber lineman on the draft’s second night. Cincinnati has starter grades on O-linemen projected to go in the second and third rounds, Tobin said during a podcast with Bengals announcer Dan Hoard (Twitter link). Tobin added that the addition of veteran tackle Riley Reiff gives the team a better O-line outlook than it had in 2020 (Twitter link via’s Ben Baby).

Needs exist on the interior of Cincinnati’s O-line, and Tobin said more additions will take place. But the veteran executive understandably is not giving off the vibe the team must add an impact blocker early.

The Bengals also do not want to trade too far down from No. 5; they might not be interested in moving down at all. A best-player-available pick may suit the Bengals, who have included Joe Burrow in their pre-draft process, Tobin more or less confirmed (via Baby, on Twitter). Burrow has stumped for a Ja’Marr Chase reunion, according to Albert Breer of The Eagles may well expect this to be the direction the Bengals go, with Breer noting Philly believes there is a good chance Cincy drafts Chase at No. 5. Possessing a greater receiver need than the Bengals do, the Eagles traded down from from No. 6 to No. 12 late last month.

The Bengals did not re-sign either of the top-10 receiver picks on last year’s roster — A.J. Green and John Ross — but have invested a first- or second-round pick in a wideout in three of the past five drafts. Chase opted out of his junior season but exploded for 84 receptions, 1,780 yards and 20 touchdown catches during Burrow’s Heisman-winning 2019. He and Burrow played together at LSU for two seasons.