Burrow’s Return To Field Lifts Bengals

Burrow's Return To Field Lifts Bengals

The last place you want to be if you’re an NFL player in training camp is on a cart.

Except if you’re Joe Burrow and you’re making your first on-field camp appearance since an appendectomy six days ago. Burrow, the Bengals MVP candidate quarterback, roamed the field Monday in a green golf cart that mirrors the one from which Bengals president Mike Brown watches practice. Which is all you need to know about Burrow’s station at Paul Brown Stadium these days.

“Hell no,” said wide receiver Tyler Boyd when asked if any teammates rode Burrow about his ride. “That’s Money Joe. He can do what he wants. He doesn’t need to be standing around. Stay off your feet, boss man. Happy to have him out here in practice.”

Head coach Zac Taylor doesn’t have a timeline for his return to practice and left it up to Burrow if he wanted to watch the fifth camp practice on the field. Before this, he had checked into the training room briefly a couple of days since surgery.

“That’s his call to get out there,” Taylor said, “He feels up to it, so we’ll let him get back out there and spend as much time as he needs to.”

Of course, Burrow was out there for the entire practice, spending the 7-on-7 and team periods about 20 yards behind the offense, either standing amid the skill players and the coaches, or sitting among them in the cart.

He had all kinds of visitors as he sat in the cart. Even Mike Brown got out of his cart to chat with Burrow sitting in his cart to check in on his franchise quarterback. His three wide receivers, Tyler Boyd, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, gathered around after stretching to offer a photo op. He gave running back Joe Mixon a ride to a station.

“I see you, Joey B,” said cornerback Mike Hilton as he tooled between drills and Burrow flashed him a V with his fingers.

“It was great just seeing him walking in and just him being okay,” Boyd said before practice. “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’s got to get right first. We’re here behind him no matter what.”

No one, it seemed, was giving him any grief about riding in the cart.

“I think they made him do that. They didn’t want anybody to get too close to him and bump into him. We’ll find different ways to give him crap. We won’t give him crap for the cart,” said quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher with a smile. “I’m sure he missed being out here for the first couple of days. He loves it. I’m just glad to have him back.”

Burrow, wearing a head set, stayed engaged listening to each and every Zac call. Pitcher says he’s now back in the meetings.

“He contributed to the conversation between periods and after plays,” Pitcher said. “We’ll get him healed up and get him back out there.”

That’s still a guess. But there’s no guesswork on what just his presence means.

“It certainly is a positive. He lifts the team up in more than one way,” Taylor said. “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.”

Even if it was in a golf cart.

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