Joe Burrow never planned on rejecting Bengals ahead of 2020 NFL Draft

Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)
Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images) /

When the dust of the 2019 college football season had settled, the consensus No. 1 overall pick was crystal clear for the Cincinnati Bengals. Joe Burrow had just put together one of the best seasons for a college quarterback, capped off by winning the Heisman Trophy and National Championship with LSU.

Everyone knew the Bengals would take Burrow with the top pick in the upcoming 2020 NFL Draft and move on from Andy Dalton, who had been their quarterback since 2011. The stripes were coming off a league-worst two-win season and a change was necessary at the most important position in the sport.

In the months leading up to the draft, there were whispers of if Burrow would tell the Bengals not to draft him. We’ve seen this happen in the past with top quarterbacks, from John Elway with the Colts to Eli Manning with the Chargers, so it wouldn’t have been a huge surprise if it happened again.

Burrow himself never said anything about not wanting to play with the Bengals but the organization had a bad reputation. Jason Buck and Scott Mitchell discussed on the Rivals podcast ahead of the 2020 draft how Burrow should avoid playing for the Bengals if at all possible. The quote below was from the podcast and transcribed by Madisan Hinkhouse of KSL Sports.

"“If I am Joe Burrow, I don’t go… I just say no I am not going to go to the Cincinnati Bengals,”"

Joe Burrow clears the air about 2020 NFL Draft

Fast forward to less than two years later and Burrow not only is a proud member of the Bengals but he has the team in the Super Bowl for the first time since the 1988 season.

Leading up to the big game, Burrow was asked about those rumors of potentially “rejecting” the Bengals and gave this answer:

So there you have it. Burrow never planned on demanding Cincinnati go in a different direction with that top pick. He wanted to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft and play for a team that greatly needed his services.

After his rookie season was cut short and Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert went on to win Offensive Rookie of the Year, the discussions of how the Bengals made the wrong choice with the top pick began.

Well, no one is saying that now.

The Bengals might not have had the best reputation but Burrow knew he could be the difference-maker and he’s been just that. It feels so weird now thinking that he could have potentially told the team not to take him but fortunately, that didn’t happen and now the stripes are in the biggest game of all of sports with a chance to win their first-ever championship.

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Thanks for giving us a chance, Burrow.