Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is already leading by example

James Rapien

Joe Burrow is a leader. It's no secret to anyone that watched college football or paid attention to the NFL Draft last month. 

Burrow's intangibles are a big reason why LSU was so successful last season. He led the Tigers to a 15-0 record and their first national championship since 2007. 

His ability to lead is unique, but it's a trait most of the great quarterbacks possess. 

“I’m fairly good at connecting with a lot of different people. I’m a Southeast Ohio kid. I think my high school kind of prepared me for it a little bit," Burrow said last month. "We’re not super racially diverse, but we’re very socioeconomically diverse, so you get [to know] a lot of different kinds of people. That allowed me to connect to a lot of different people, and that really helped me when I was at Ohio State. And going down to LSU, I’ve been able to connect with people from rural Virginia, people from inner-city Chicago, New Orleans, rural Louisiana — so I think that’s something that I do very well.” 

Burrow has already started to connect with his new teammates, even though he hasn't been able to meet them in person due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

He's exchanged messages with A.J. Green and Tyler Boyd over the past few weeks about potentially working out together. Jessie Bates said Burrow was attempting to organize 7-on-7 workouts. 

That's the latest example of Burrow's leadership. The 23-year-old impressed the Bengals more and more every time they talked with him during the pre-draft process.

His intelligence, maturity, leadership and confidence are some of the traits the coaches love the most. They believe he'll be able to pickup the playbook quickly, despite not having in-person OTA's or minicamp. 

“I want to be the best player I can be," Burrow said. "I’ll have to get mental reps in from missing these minicamps and OTAs. I’ll have to get into the playbook really hard and go through the process of calling plays in the huddle. The thing about being in the huddle is you have to be stern in your voice. If you’re wavering and fumbling over your words, players will look and think, ‘What is this guy doing? Get him out.’ So that’s something I want to be focused on.”

Burrow understands it's going to be a challenge. He's willing to go the extra mile to make sure he's in sync with his wide receivers before training camp begins. 

“I just work really, really hard every day, and I think that probably rubs off on people," Burrow said. "I’m just unapologetically myself, and I think that’s a good thing and people respect that.”

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