Burrow: Bengals have top pick, I have ‘leverage’

NFL

Potential top overall NFL draft pick Joe Burrow suggested Monday that the upcoming draft process could have more layers than simply being selected by the Cincinnati Bengals, the team with the top pick.

“I do have leverage,” the former LSU quarterback said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, during a reception in Fort Worth in which he accepted the Davey O’Brien Award. “[The Bengals] have their process and I have my process. We haven’t even gotten to the [NFL] combine yet. There’s a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.”

Burrow, who won the award given to the nation’s top college quarterback, did not appear to elaborate on the specifics regarding those comments.

During various interviews with local media in Dallas-Fort Worth, Burrow was repeatedly asked about his thoughts on playing for the Bengals, who have the first pick in the draft after finishing with the NFL’s worst record in 2019.

Burrow, who grew up in Athens, Ohio, less than three hours east of Cincinnati, was piqued by the idea of playing in the state where his parents still reside.

“It’s an interesting [thought], going back home to Ohio,” Burrow told KTCK-AM. “It would be a lot of fun. It would.”

During the buildup to next week’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, questions regarding Burrow’s willingness to play for the Bengals have been the topic of media speculation. Burrow’s mother, Robin, told the Star-Telegram on Monday that she was unaware of how that narrative originated.

“We have no idea where that comes from,” Robin Burrow told the Texas newspaper. “It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance — from our perspective at least.”

However, throughout the day, Joe Burrow did not affirm his commitment to playing for Cincinnati, a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since 1991. In 2004, top pick Eli Manning refused to play for the San Diego Chargers and was eventually traded to the New York Giants, where he won two Super Bowls.

Burrow said being the No. 1 draft pick will be a “dream come true,” but demurred when asked if he wants to go to the city that currently holds the top overall pick.

“I’d like to play football,” Burrow said at a news conference. “So whoever takes me — I’m a ballplayer, I’m gonna play.”

The Bengals will have a chance to meet with Burrow during the combine, which starts on Sunday.

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