The Cincinnati Bengals are believed to have already decided on taking Joe Burrow with the top overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, and Burrow has said he will be happy to play for any team that wants to pay him. However, one comment he made this week may have the Bengals feeling at least slightly uneasy.
While Burrow technically can’t do anything about the Bengals drafting him, he did say this week that he has “leverage.” The implication seemed to be that if he doesn’t want to play in Cincinnati, there are steps he could take to assure he winds up elsewhere.
“I do have leverage,” Burrow said, via Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram . “They 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 may be in a slightly uncomfortable spot. The Bengals have yet to say — at least publicly — that they are definitely picking Burrow, so the former LSU star doesn’t want to sound like he is guaranteed to be the top pick. However, he has been given opportunities to say how much he would love playing for a team in his home state of Ohio, but he only said this week that he is “focused on being the best football player I can be.”
For what it’s worth, at least one former No. 1 overall pick thinks Burrow should pull an Eli Manning and force his way to another team if the Bengals draft him. Former NFL quarterback Steve Bartkowski told the Star-Telegram that being drafted by the Atlanta Falcons first overall in 1975 ended up being detrimental to his health and career.
“I know what it’s like to go to a bottom-feeder team. I’d hate to see that happen to him to be honest,” Bartkowski said. “They beat me up. I spent more time at the hospital recuperating from injuries my first three years than I did throwing touchdowns. It was tough.”
Burrow being from Ohio is probably the biggest thing working in the Bengals’ favor. While the Heisman Trophy winner has not exactly expressed excitement over the possibility of playing in Cincy, there have been many reasons to believe he will not pull an Eli. It’s true that the Bengals have not been a successful franchise, but Burrow may be motivated to be the guy who turns things around for them.
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