The last time we saw Joe Burrow on a football field was all the way back in Week 11 of last season. It was there when the Bengals' No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft suffered a torn ACL, stopping an extremely promising rookie season short. The good news for Cincinnati is that the young quarterback is "just about 100 percent" in his recovery from that knee injury and seems to be on track to start for the club right out of the gate in Week 1, when they host the Minnesota Vikings.
If Burrow has any say in the matter, however, he'll hit the field a little sooner than that. While speaking to reporters on Wednesday, the quarterback admitted that he wants to suit up at some point during the preseason to get a feel for live game action.
"We'll have that discussion with [head coach] Zac [Taylor] and ownership," said Burrow, via NFL.com. "I'd like to go out there and feel the rush at least a couple times. Don't have to play the full game, but I would like to get out there a little bit."
Burrow's comments come after the Bengals owner Mike Brown said earlier this week that Burrow is unlikely to participate during the preseason, with the emphasis being centered around getting ready for the regular season. Brown stated that they "don't want to risk anything with" Burrow, who is also commended by saying his effort during his rehab was A-plus.
That said, there does seem to be a solid case to be made to throw Burrow out there during the exhibition season just for a brief glimpse. As he highlighted, you really can't simulate live competition and it may be best to shake off whatever rust he has during games without much consequence.
"Again, we'll look at everything, every scenario that would be, what would we gain out of it?" Bengals head coach Zac Taylor said of Burrow possibly playing this preseason. "If we're gonna put him out there, what exactly is that gonna look like where we can control it or not control it. Again, we don't have to make that decision today. We can see how the weeks go. There will be a lot of thought that goes into that process and we will make certain that he's ready to play Week 1 against Minnesota."
Given his importance to the franchise, it's understandable why the Bengals decision-makers are moving cautiously with Burrow. However, if he believes it'll help him perform at a high level once the games start counting, it'll certainly be something to consider over these next few weeks.