Bengals’ Burrow back in the building following appendectomy

Bengals QB Joe Burrow during the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 30, in Kansas City. David Eulitt/Getty Images

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Bengals QB Joe Burrow during the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 30, in Kansas City. David Eulitt/Getty Images

CINCINNATI -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow walked through the locker room Monday and showed up on the sidelines of the team’s practice field later in the afternoon, making his presence known for the first time since training camp opened without him because of an appendectomy last week.

Coach Zac Taylor said Burrow is taking it “day by day,” but Burrow just being back in the building and around the team is a good sign. And it’s a step toward getting the team’s offensive leader back on the field.

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“It was great, just seeing him walking in and just him being okay,” wide receiver Tyler Boyd said, noting Burrow had come in Friday as well. “Every guy on the team knows he’s a strong individual, and we know he overcomes adversity very well, and we know he will bounce back, but he gotta get right first. We’re here behind him no matter what. And we’re gonna compete with who we got.”

Taylor didn’t want to speak for Burrow in terms of how he is feeling but said he looks good. The timeline for when he begins practicing remains in his hands, depending on how his recovery is going and also being mindful of the need to ease him into things.

Not surprisingly, Burrow at least wants to watch and stay on top of what his teammates are doing. He arrived to the practice field on a golf cart with Joe Mixon, then was given a scooter to use to get around before ditching it for the golf cart again.

“It certainly is a positive,” Taylor said. “He lifts the team up in more than one way, and so I think for everyone to see him after not seeing him for a couple of days is certainly a positive that our guys can build on.”

Taylor said it was Burrow’s call to watch practice because he “feels up to it,” but he can take as much time as he needs before getting into activity.

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Until then, the team doesn’t feel complete, Boyd said. He added Jessie Bates into that conversation as well, though there still is no update on if or when the star free safety will show up, since he hasn’t yet signed his franchise tender.

“Once we get those guys back and the full connection kind of combined in one, I think that’s when we’re starting to get our mojo back,” Boyd said. “Not to say we don’t, but just to have even more confidence knowing what we’re capable of when we got all of our key players on the field at the same time.”

Injury updates

Right guard Alex Cappa joined team drills Monday, but right tackle La’el Collins is still “day to day” with a back issue. Cappa, who had surgery to fix a core muscle issue suffered during the offseason workout program, was cleared for the first day of training camp last week, but was limited to individual drills to ease back in.

That also has been the case for linebacker Logan Wilson and wide receiver Tee Higgins, who underwent offseason shoulder surgery, and edge rusher Joseph Ossai, who tore his ACL last preseason after a promising start as a rookie. The next step for them will be getting into team drills as well.

On Monday, cornerback Tre Flowers was not dressed for practice, as the only new addition to the team’s list of injuries.

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Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor, right, talks with Joe Burrow during an NFL football practice in Cincinnati, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: Aaron Doster

Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor, right, talks with Joe Burrow during an NFL football practice in Cincinnati, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: Aaron Doster

Combined ShapeCaption
Cincinnati Bengals' Zac Taylor, right, talks with Joe Burrow during an NFL football practice in Cincinnati, Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Credit: Aaron Doster

Credit: Aaron Doster

Putting the pads on

Monday’s practice was the last one before the pads come on Tuesday, and Taylor said the coaches do spend time talking about expectations and how to handle certain situations to help teammates avoid injuries.

There already was one player sent to the injured reserve list last week with Elijah Holyfield suffering a season-ending knee injury on a running play in an 11-on-11 drill. Taylor said injuries like that, and others seen around the league already, are the unfortunate side of football, but players have to compete to get ready for the season.

Cincinnati is finishing up its offensive and defensive installs, and as the players put the pads on, there will be more one-on-one battles and tackling drills as the team starts gearing up for the start of the preseason schedule.

“Once the install is in, it gets to be more game like in terms of take the script away from the guys so there’s not the prep work that some of the younger guys can do to know what’s coming at them in practice,” Taylor said. “It becomes more ‘call it periods,’ where it becomes more unpredictable in terms of what plays are coming in the huddle. They know what personnel grouping is in there, but they’re not sure what the play is until they hear it in the huddle for the first time. That’s where you start to get them ready for that first game against Arizona and what it’s going to be like. This week finishing up the install and getting acclimated to the pads and then we start to take away more scripted periods and have more call it periods.”

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