Teammate Interrupts What Could Be Tyler Boyd’s Final Interview With the Bengals

Bengals quarterback Jake Browning was listening to Tyler Boyd talk about his uncertain future when he knew he had to interrupt to say a few words.

CINCINNATICincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tyler Boyd was in the middle of a postgame interview and surrounded by more media members than ever in his career.

Boyd answered question after question about his future with the possibility — likelihood even — that today was his final game as a member of the organization.

Bengals QB Jake Browning Interrupts Tyler Boyd Interview

The senior-most member of the locker room talked about what the last eight seasons have meant to him and the uncertainty about his future when teammate Jake Browning stepped into the scrum and interrupted.

It wasn’t the playful holding of a shoe as a voice recorder or face twisting to get the person to laugh that usually occurs when a teammate crashes an interview. It was a heartfelt soliloquy that said a lot about both Boyd and Browning.

“Hey, real quick,” Browning said as he sidled up to Boyd. “(He’s) been my locker mate the whole year, been a big part of helping me bounce back when I throw three picks in a game and I think an underrated part of the whole locker room. In the receiver room, obviously we have a ton of talent in there, but he’s a big, unsung hero of the locker room.

“And I hope he’s back. But wherever he goes, someone is gonna be lucky to have him in the locker room.”

“Love, bro,” is how Boyd responded. “Love. Complete love.”

Boyd was asked to expand on what it meant to have Browning do that and say what he said.

“It just showed the respect. I done been here a while. And I’ve been the same person each and every day when I walk in here, whether I had a terrible game or a good game or a game where I didn’t have any looks. I’ve always been that guy to help support guys and just always have been true to myself.

“I’m an authentic guy, and I’m always gonna be that person. Because when times get rough, that’s when guys show they true colors. I’m always going to keep my true colors under the lights.”

The Bengals named Boyd their 2023 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award nominee, mainly because of the way he has handled himself throughout his career. He arrived under the shadow of A.J. Green, got a brief minute to shine, then found himself a distant option behind Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase the last few years.

And even though no one else in the locker room has been around as long as Boyd to see all of that, it’s well-known. And appreciated. And respected.

Browning jumped into Boyd’s interview before showering and holding his own session in the team’s news conference room.

He was asked why it was so important to voice his thoughts on Boyd in front of the cameras.

“I think Ja’Marr and Tee get a lot of publicity — and rightfully so; they’re unbelievable players — but I think TB, at least in my experience over the past couple years here and watching this place — I wasn’t here when it was bad — but watching it climb to the next level, I think TB is an unsung hero, a guy that pulls a lot of weight in the locker room,” Browning said.

“Those two guys came here when he was kind of the guy. It’s a zero-sum game. You can’t throw the ball to three people every play. So there were a lot of touches that went other people’s ways, but he kind of set the tone that, ‘This is not going to be a prima donna room.’ It’s just really about winning and going as hard as you can,” he continued. “I’ll always have a lot of respect for TB and just how he carried himself.”

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Before Browning jumped into the fray, Boyd talked about the complicated emotions he was experiencing knowing it could be his final game with the Bengals.

“I enjoyed the moment, but at the same time, you kind of have to look to the next chapter,” he said. “Whatever comes for me next, I’ll be ready for it.”

Asked point blank if he’d like to be back, Boyd made his answer clear.

“Sure,” he said. “I spent my whole career here. They gave me my first opportunity. They drafted me here. I’ll never not want to come back. We’ll just play it by ear.”

Boyd endured five consecutive losing seasons after the Bengals took him in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. From 2018-2020, the team lost double-digit games each season.

Then came the Super Bowl run in 2021 and plenty of good times since.

“I’m just glad to be part of such a prestigious team,” he said. “Just to see where I started and how I ended was kind of surreal. It was like a movie because we started super low, wasn’t good enough. I stuck around and always continued to battle and made plays and (was) there for my teammates.

“We got different players in, and we got good and we ended up making a run to the Super Bowl,” he added. “It’s something, a way I always wanted to live my life. Now I’m at this stage of my life, and I’m not sure what’s gonna happen.”

Unlike the movies, there was no happy ending. The Bengals won what likely is Boyd’s final game with them, but they missed the playoffs, and his contribution was one catch for four yards.

They were a big four yards, though, giving him exactly 6,000 for his career. That’s good for seventh in franchise history. His 513 catches are good for fourth, behind only Chad Johnson, A.J. Green, and Carl Pickens.

“I feel like I did everything I could,” Boyd said. “I may be back, I may not. I just don’t know.”

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