Joe Burrow passed on a chance to squash speculation he does not want to be a Cincinnati Bengal.
In Texas on Monday to accept the Davey O’Brien Award for the nation’s best quarterback of last season, the LSU signal caller talked more about the pre-draft process than a potential destination.
“They have their process that they have to go through, so I’m just blessed to be in the position that I’m in. If they select me, they select me. I’m going to do everything in my power to be the best football player that I can be.”
Told that didn’t sound like a “yes, I’ll be happy,” Burrow repeated: “It’s a long process the next couple of months. We have the Combine. We have the pro day. There’s a long time until the draft. There’s a lot of information, a lot of different places, a lot of people saying a lot of things, but I’m just focused on training right now.”
Additionally, the Dallas Morning News reported former NFL quarterback Steve Bartkowski said he told Burrow he should follow the route Eli Manning took in 2004.
That spring the Mississippi quarterback was taken by the Chargers but traded to the Giants on draft day after making it known he did not want to play in San Diego, who ended up with Philip Rivers of North Carolina State in the deal.
Asked about Bartkowski’s friendly suggestion, Burrow laughed: “I’ve heard a couple rumblings about that.”
He also understands his special situation.
“I do have leverage,” Burrow said. “They have their process, and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the combine yet. There’s a lot of things to happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information to gather.
“I am in this unique spot. You can go watch my film. I don’t have to prove myself at pro day and the combine.”
The notion of “pulling an Eli” has been floating around in the media since January when Burrow closed out a historic season by leading the Tigers over Clemson in the national championship game.
Burrow has not publicly expressed concerns about the Bengals, who are widely expected to use the No. 1 pick on him after falling to 2-14 last season, but television station Fox 19 in Cincinnati reported Jan. 23 Burrow would not try to engineer a trade elsewhere.
Someone identified as “a family source” also told Fox 19 the family “has been a bit annoyed by that narrative.”
In Forth Worth this week, the Star-Telegram reported Burrow’s parents, Robin and Jimmy, still take issue with the narrative as well.
“We have no idea where that comes from,” Robin said. “It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance — from our perspective at least.”
Bengals coaches are on record as liking what they’ve seen on film of Burrow, who was a star at Athens High School in Southeast Ohio and began his career at Ohio State before transferring two years ago.
Their next chance to get to see him up close comes next week at the annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
In January, former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer told national radio host Dan Patrick he sees Burrow as a deserving No. 1 pick, but Palmer later poured gasoline on the “pulling an Eli” speculation around Burrow when Palmer told CBS Sports Radio he was told prior to the Bengals taking him No. 1 in 2003 he would be better off somewhere else.
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