What Bengals QB Joe Burrow Said About His Mentality, Mortality As He Fights Another Rehab

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow admits mistakes in dealing with past injuries and said he's making sure he doesn't repeat them.

CINCINNATI – A philosophical, introspective Joe Burrow talked about his injury history and football mortality Tuesday after the Cincinnati Bengals held their first of three minicamp practices.

Burrow said he learned a hard lesson last year when he tried to push through calf tightness last summer, a decision he believes led to the injury that cost him several weeks of training camp in addition to four weeks of a regular season marred by subpar health and performance.

Bengals QB Joe Burrow Weighs In on Lessons Learned from Calf Injury

As he fights through the good days and bad days of his recovery from a season-ending wrist injury in November, Burrow said his mind sometimes goes back to what he should have done differently with the calf injury.

“I’ve definitely thought about that,” Burrow said. “I don’t think I quite handled it the right way. I definitely would have taken some more time. I would say the calf was the catalyst for that change.”

The change he referenced is being more willing to stick to the rehab schedule than trying to push through any pain or discomfort.

Burrow said earlier in the offseason that he has had good days and bad days during his recovery from the wrist injury.

“You always forget how hard it is coming back from injury,” Burrow said. “Every time it happens, I think the same thing because there’s always peaks where you’re like, ‘I’m feeling great.’ And then a couple months later, you have a couple days where it’s like, ‘Man, I’m not feeling that great.’

“In the past, I pushed through that and caused problems for myself, and this year, I’m not doing that.”

After taking some additional time off this month, Burrow didn’t appear to have the same velocity on his throws Tuesday. He had noticeably less zip than those from backup quarterback Jake Browning.

But Burrow said that is a product of not pushing himself and not an inability to let it rip.

Asked if he had to make one of his hardest throws into a tight window right now, would he physically be able to do so, he didn’t hesitate.

“Yeah, 100%,” he said.

One hint that the wrist isn’t bothering him too much came during a lighter moment late in the press conference when he was asked about how he has been spending his downtime this offseason.

Burrow said he’s been learning to play the piano by watching YouTube videos. Obviously, playing piano isn’t on par with the stress and torque the wrist endures when throwing a football, but it is an activity that would be best to avoid if there was any hint of pain.

With the injuries – and absences – mounting, Burrow admitted he thinks about the pressure and how best to deal with it mentally.

“That’s definitely something I’ve thought about, yeah,” he said. “Whenever the injuries start to stack up, your football mortality kind of comes into the back of your mind. So that’s definitely something I’ve thought about and something I have had to fight through.”

“Every injury that happens, they stack, and you continue to think about how you can get better from those and how you can come back an improved player when maybe you aren’t getting the reps you had because of your injuries,” he continued. “It’s always a challenge, it always is. But I’m built for it. Our team is built for it, and people that I have surrounded myself with have been through it with me, as well.”

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Asked how close to full health his wrist currently is, Burrow didn’t want to give a percentage.

But he did put a number on it — 89, as in days.

“I’ll be ready to go by the season.”

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