Vonn Bell praises Burrow, says 'Joe Swagger' just has to be himself

James Rapien

CINCINNATI — Bengals safety Vonn Bell was all smiles on Thursday. The 25-year-old has a lot to be happy about. 

He signed a three-year, $18 million contract with the Bengals this offseason. The team expects him to be a big part of their defense. Combine that with the fact that he's reuniting with Sam Hubbard, Joe Burrow and some of his other college teammates and Bell couldn't help but smile throughout his 17 minute news conference with the media. 

He talked about a variety of topics, including the top pick in the NFL Draft. Bell played with Burrow during Joe's freshman year at Ohio State. 

"I always thought something of Joe," Bell said. "He was always a guy that could make elusive plays with his legs. He had a big arm. He was smart. He just had that swagger to him. I always said 'give em a cup of Joe.' Oh man, he's going out there and going to work and I'm proud of what he's become."

A lot has changed for Burrow since he was a freshman at Ohio State. He's a national champion, a Heisman Trophy winner and the top pick in the draft. 

What's the biggest difference in his play on the field?

“More mature now. The game slowed down for him," Bell said. "He’s progressing the field way better. He knows what the defense is giving him and he knows what he can take. He knows when to take the shot. He knows when not to.

"He was with a guy I knew, Coach (Joe) Brady, his OC at LSU. He was in New Orleans with us, so he was picking the brain of Drew (Brees) and Sean Payton. So he just brought that offense into LSU. He was picking on some good brains. It’s helped him, his progression and the speed of the game slowed down. His time table in his head — he can progress the field way better. He’s got even more swagger to him and I love it.”

Bell went to Burrow's senior night at LSU. Little did he know that the duo would become reunite just a few months later. 

They worked out together before training camp started. The two B's are hoping to turn the Bengals into a winner. 

Despite all of the accolades, Bell sees the same Joe that he believed in during his time at Ohio State. 

"He's still Joe Swagger," Bell said with a smile. "He's just gotta be himself everyday and that's all you need. That's good enough. And just challenge himself everyday to get better."

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