Joe Burrow: "I'm going to work as hard as I can to bring winning to Cincinnati"
When the Bengals decided they were going to select Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft, they did it for a multitude of reasons.
The 23 year old had an historic season where he helped lead LSU to a 15-0 record and a National Championship. He led the nation in passing yards (5,671), touchdowns (60) and completion percentage (76.3).
Burrow was spectacular on the field, but the intangibles he brings to the table are just as impressive. From raising over $500,000 for the food bank in his hometown of Athens, Ohio, to the way he addressed the Cincinnati media for the first time on Thursday night. It's easy to see why the Bengals fell in love with Burrow.
"The NFL is a physical game and so I’m going to keep lifting weights, getting stronger, getting bigger, getting faster," Burrow said. "I’m going to get a chef so that when I’m done with my workouts, I can come home, eat great food to fuel my body and just relax. My mom has been doing all that for me right now, so it’s been awesome being home. But now the next step is to put more muscle on and gain more weight before the season starts."
There are so many people that bring up the "IT" factor when talking about a player. Most of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL have the same edge and work ethic. Burrow has "IT". He has the indescribable trait that Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and all of the other greats possess.
"I'm not sure what it is about me. I just work really, really hard every day and I think that probably rubs off on people," Burrow said when asked about his leadership. "I'm just myself. I'm unapologetically myself. I think that's a good thing and I think people really respect that."
It's a big reason why he's been compared to some of the greatest quarterbacks we've ever seen. It isn't his arm strength or his athleticism. It's his intelligence, his work ethic and his accuracy that impressed everyone in the Bengals' organization.
“There’s the old saying that there’s always someone out there that’s getting up earlier and working hard. I’ve always tried to be that other person," Burrow said. "When people say that, I try to be the guy that they’re talking about. So that’s something that I’ve always prided myself in."
Burrow knows he's walking into a challenging situation. He's well-aware of the four straight losing seasons. He knows the franchise hasn't won a playoff game since January 6, 1991, which was more than five years before Burrow was born.
“You don’t mentally adjust for it at all. You don’t sacrifice your standards for anything. I think going into the season and thinking our goal is to win a playoff game this year — I don’t think that’s the case. I don’t think that’s the right way to go about it," Burrow said. "I think you go in to the season, we’re going to work really, really hard and focus on one play and one week at a time, and we’re going to win a lot of football games that way. I think if you go in thinking, ‘Oh this is the year we’re going to the playoffs, this is the year we’re going to win a playoff game,’ it gets too daunting. It sounds corny, but you’ve just got to focus on every single step of the process.”
For Burrow, the process and the work is everything. It's what got him through his struggles at Ohio State, led to his success at LSU and helped him become the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft.
“For me, it doesn’t matter where you get picked. I could’ve been the 189th pick or I could’ve been No. 1. I’m going to work the exact same, and try to be the best quarterback I can be for this city.”