CINCINNATI — Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow doesn't have many critics, but there are a few out there, including Colin Cowherd of Fox Sports.
First, he thought Cincinnati should trade down in the NFL Draft instead of selecting the 2019 Heisman Trophy winner. Then, he said Burrow should force his way to the Dolphins.
Since the draft, Cowherd has been critical of Burrow's arm strength and his on-field ability and his physical abilities.
Well, that tone changed on Friday. The national radio and television show host appears to be coming around on the top pick.
"I'm starting to see something with Joe Burrow that I really like," Cowherd said. "I've been on Joe Burrow for six months. He follows me on social media. He retweets me. He never fires back. Because Joe Burrow's self-esteem is not tied to what I think of him. Joe Burrow's self-esteem — and this is really important — is tied to what Joe Burrow thinks of himself.
"It is about confidence, focus, judgement, maturity."
Burrow retweeted a 5-minute and 28-second rant that Cowherd posted on Thursday about athletes being outspoken about social and racial injustice in America. Burrow certainly falls into the category of players hoping to use their platform to affect change.
After months of criticism, Burrow didn't fire back about his arm strength or physical ability.
Instead, he promoted what Cowherd was saying because it would help his cause. He wasn't worried about past criticism.
"When I poked Baker Mayfield in the ribs — police video, height — poked him in the ribs, kind of a reach. Oh, it bothered him," Cowherd continued. "He fired back every time. Every time. Because Baker was not ready to go from best college team to lousy NFL team. That's a certain level maturity and self-esteem that few have. Baker Mayfield has admitted in the last month, Baker's words 'I lost my way. I lost who I was.
"Joe Burrow is already there. Took Baker two years. Joe's there. He's not bothered by me, not bothered by critics. He kinda puts his arms around it. And that's a real thing. That's a real thing because this league, the National Football League, beats you up physically and it beats you up emotionally."
Plenty of people, including former Bengals quarterback Jordan Palmer have told the 56-year-old broadcaster about Burrow's maturity. Cincinnati fans will be happy to see Cowherd reverse course on the No. 1 pick.
"Joe Burrow gets it. Not bothered by me. Doesn't give a rip. Doesn't care. I love it," Cowherd said. "Burrow's all on the stuff that matters: Bengals, teammates, football, playbook, confidence. That's what it's about."
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