Joe Burrow sends clear message to Tee Higgins regarding offseason absence

Burrow has his receiver's back.
Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Tee Higgins has been a no-show during the offseason for the Cincinnati Bengals so far. He missed the team's voluntary activities, and he's also been absent from mandatory minicamp as he's unhappy with his current contract situation with the franchise.

Burrow isn't holding a grudge against Higgins for his absence

While speaking with media members at minicamp, quarterback Joe Burrow revealed that he has been in consistent contact with Higgins, and that the star receiver will be welcomed back with open arms whenever he returns to the team.

"Me and Tee are always talking," Burrow said. "I've seen Tee several times this offseason. He looks great. Whenever he's ready to come back, I'll be excited to see him."

Higgins requested a trade away from the Bengals at the onset of free agency in March, and Burrow has remained publicly supportive of his teammate throughout the offseason.

"It's no secret, our relationship,"Burrow said of Higgins back in January. "I expect Tee to be back. I think that's the sentiment in the locker room. We all want Tee back. . . . We know what kind of player he is. We know what kind of person he is. He's what being a Bengal is all about."

Higgins has been a top target for Burrow over the past four seasons, so it's no surprise that the Burrow is eager to continue having the receiver at his disposal.

When it comes to Higgins' future with the Bengals, there's one key date to circle on the calendar, and that's July 15. That's the deadline for Higgins and the Bengals to reach an agreement on a long-term deal. If no deal is reached by that date, Higgins could become eligible for free agency next offseason.

It seems unlikely that the two sides will come to an agreement before then, but hey, crazier things have happened. If it were up to Burrow, it's safe to say that Higgins would already have a new deal.