Will Grier’s whirlwind week continued Wednesday when he got to Cincinnati in time to pass a physical and suit up for his first Bengals practice that coincided with the sideshow that was Joe Burrow’s first practice in five weeks.
“I’ll sleep good tonight,” Grier said after practice. “I’ll catch up. I’ll be fine.”
Will Grier Joins the Bengals’ Practice Squad
The Bengals were one of several teams that reached out to Grier after the Dallas Cowboys officially cut him Tuesday in a transaction that essentially was made Saturday when Dallas traded for quarterback Trey Lance hours before their preseason finale.
Knowing his time with the Cowboys was done, Grier still agreed to not only play against the Raiders but take every offensive snap.
“At the end of the day it just came down to, ‘Do you want to play football or not play football?'” Grier said. “And I just said, ‘I want to go play.’ Yeah, I put a lot into it. So I felt good about the offense. I knew that I could go put good tape out, so I just made it simple. Yeah, I’m gonna go play.”
Grier threw for 305 yards — 69 more than any other quarterback across the league had this preseason — and two touchdowns while rushing for 53 yards and two more scores.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones called it the best preseason performance he’s seen since 1999, and executives around the league were impressed as well as Grier found himself fielding a lot of phone calls. Wednesday after practice he explained why he wanted to come to Cincinnati, where one of the league’s best quarterbacks has the starting job on lock.
“A big part for me was being on a good, competitive team, somebody that had talent and was a Super Bowl contender, which clearly this place is,” Grier said. “That was a big part of the decision.
“It was weird being in that position, you know, fielding calls and just trying to find the right fit,” Grier added. “It was the first time I’ve gotten to choose rather than being chosen, so it was a weird process. But I wanted to go to a place that had a chance to win it all coming from a place like Dallas, that we were building to go win it all. I wanted to go somewhere else with that same vision and same ability and this place definitely has that.”
Though he signed to the Bengals’ practice squad, Grier will have a chance to compete with Jake Browning to be Burrow’s backup after Browning beat out Trevor Siemian in camp. Grier led all NFL quarterbacks with 640 passing yards in the preseason, far outdistancing Kyle Trask’s 509. Grier also was tops in attempts (84) and completions (64), and his four touchdown passes were one shy of Blaine Gabbert’s five.
The 2019 third-round pick said he feels as though he’s playing the best football of his career.
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“I’ve got a lot more to give,” he said. “I definitely feel like I’m trending upward and continuing to get better. And this place was a place I felt like I was going to continue to get pushed and developed.
“I just went out to practice not knowing, like, we didn’t go over anything,” he added. “I’m still very, very new. I’m gonna put my head down and work and we’ll see how long it takes.”
But before he catches up on the playbook, he’s going to catch up on some sleep.
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