Bengals' QB Joe Burrow Quotes 4.23.20
COURTESY OF CINCINNATI BENGALS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
What was it like to finally get that call that you've been drafted to the NFL as a member of the Bengals, especially after so much speculation that you would be?
"I was excited about it. It's a dream come true to finally be picked. And to get to play so close to home, me and my family couldn't be more excited about it."
How do you embrace the pressure, expectations and all of the things that go with this selection?
"You don't think about it, you just continue to work really hard and do what got you here. I'm the No. 1 pick, but it doesn't mean anything in four months, so I'm going to continue to work really hard to be the best player that I can be for this team, for this franchise and this city."
What is your best attribute that you bring to this team?
"I think it's leadership. I've always been really, really good at bringing everybody together to form a common goal, and I think my work ethic kind of permeates throughout the team. I'm excited to get around all the guys and everybody within that building."
Is there something the Bengals said to you throughout the process that made you excited and look forward to coming to Cincinnati?
"I don't think anything specific, but every single conversation I had with Coach Taylor and Callahan (Offensive Coordinator Brian Callahan) and Pitcher (quarterbacks coach Dan Pitcher) was very, very positive. They made me very, very excited to become a Cincinnati Bengal."
What's your overall impression of Zac Taylor?
"I couldn't be more excited to work with him. He's an up-and-coming star in the league in that coaching position. I think his philosophies on offense fit my game very, very well."
It's been reported that you received a note from Bengals president Mike Brown that welcomed you to Cincinnati. Was that note hand-written? What did it say, and what did it mean to you?
"It was typed out. And it meant a lot. He also wrote one to my mom and dad as well. That kind of shows the person that he is, and I'm excited to be his quarterback for hopefully a long time."
When you look at your journey from Ohio State to LSU, you went through a lot of adversity. What kept you going through all of that?
"It was tough. When you have all that failure for three years, it kind of weighs on your mind. But I just kept faith in the fact that I knew I was working really, really hard and improving every single day. When I wasn't playing, I was in the weight room and staying after practice just to improve my game to get to the point where I am now. I'm going to continue to do those things at the next level to continue to improve my game to become a better quarterback."
Leading up to the draft and even now, have you gotten a feel for how popular you already are in Cincinnati?
"I have, and I'm very excited to reciprocate that to the fans and to the city. I think it's going to be a great relationship, and I think we're going to win a lot of football games, and that's going to make it a lot better."
In talking to some of your former coaches about your character, they all mention your desire to win. Where does that come from?
"I'm not sure what it is about me. I just work really, really hard every day, and I think that probably rubs off on people. But I'm just unapologetically myself, and I think that's a good thing and people respect that."
Have you heard how bad the city wants a winner?
"Yes I have. I'm on social media like all us young people, so I see it and I'm hoping – I don't want to say 'hope' – I'm going to work as hard as I can to bring winning to Cincinnati. And I know the people around me will as well. The culture that Coach Taylor is building, I'm very excited about it."
Are you getting a crash course in Bengals history from your friends Ryan and Adam Luehrman, who are Bengals fans? What was their reaction to knowing that you're coming down to Cincinnati?
"(Laughs) Yeah. They're excited. They made sure to tell me all their moves in free agency, everything that they were doing, so I've been kept up to date by them."
It's rare for a 2-14 football team to have the talent it has on offense here statistically, with WR A.J. Green, WR Tyler Boyd and HB Joe Mixon. Are you excited to be surrounded by some pretty good players, despite last season's record?
"I am. The thing about the NFL is there's good players everywhere. A couple injuries here or there can really change a season and change you from a playoff-caliber team to a 2-14 team. So we have what it takes. Whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do it. Hopefully I can bring something to the team that is positive and brings about wins."
How was it being at home in Athens County for the draft, versus a ballroom in Las Vegas for this special moment in your life and career?
"I was very excited about it. I kind of initially wanted to do something here in Athens anyway, and not go to Vegas. But (I decided) I was going to go to Vegas and walk across that stage, and it was going to be awesome. But as soon as the pick came in, people were driving by the house, honking their horns and screaming out the window. That's the kind of place that it is here, so it's been great to experience this with some of my closest acquaintances."
If you were to critique yourself, what are the next steps you feel like you need to take as a quarterback?
"I'm going to continue to improve all parts of my game. Everything has to be a step faster in the NFL, so I've been working on faster footwork, faster release, stronger arm – just the whole package has to become better when you get to this level."
Your Heisman speech raised over a half million dollars for your community in southeast Ohio. How overwhelmed were you either in that moment and/or by the response to your speech?
"It was pretty overwhelming. It's tough when you're in the middle of the season to think about it because you're so focused and dialed in on just winning football games. But after the season and especially during this quarantine, I think it really hit me how many people it has helped because a lot of paychecks aren't coming in right now and that food bank money, that food pantry money is helping a lot of families during this tough time."
This is a franchise that doesn't typically spend a lot in free agency, but this year they committed a lot of money to it. What was your takeaway from that?
"I was very excited about it. I think it shows the direction (in which) this franchise wants to head. I think it's going to be a winning franchise for years to come, and I hope to play a big part in it."
Zac Taylor was asked about your 'swagger' and the way you carry yourself, but he responded by saying he sees it more as confidence. What to you is the difference between those two words?
"I think 'swagger' is... I mean it's something, but there's not really anything behind it. I think 'confidence' has preparation behind it. There's a lot of false confidence out there that I think you could describe as 'swagger.' The reason that I'm so confident is I know the work that I put in. I know the preparation I do before every single game and in the offseason. That's why I'm so confident in myself, because if you put in the amount of work that I put in on the field and you don't succeed, I think something's wrong."
Duke Tobin said you love the grind. Is it the fact that you're the son of a football coach and you've been around it all your life?
"You know it might be, but something I've been scared of is the old saying out there that there's always someone out there that's getting up earlier and working harder. I've always tried to be that other person. When people say that, I try to be the guy that they're talking about. So that's something I've always really prided myself in."
What time do you get in to the building?
"At LSU I would get there 9:30 or 10 (a.m.). Wake up and make breakfast — you've got a little time — and then get in there at 9:30 or 10 to watch your film. I've got my film study routine throughout the week. Every day is something different. Then you're there until after practice until 7 or 8 (p.m.), around then."
When did Zac tell you that you were the guy?
(Laughs) "I think you'll have to ask Coach Taylor about that one. I heard when the pick came in on the TV, and when he called me right before."
There's a difference between putting hours in, and then having a plan and methodology to your approach. When did you start putting that together?
"That's a really good point. I think a lot of people say, 'I spent five hours watching film yesterday.' OK, what are you watching? Were you watching the quarterback make a great throw? That's not how you watch film. The key is being efficient with your time. I really honed in on that this year, and I had a very structured routine. I had my Sunday routine, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. So I had a very structured routine on how I watched film and prepared for the week."
You talked at the combine about not wanting to be presumptuous about the No. 1 pick, but this has really felt inevitable for a long time. Did you tap into your friendship with Sam Hubbard about the culture here?
"A little bit — not too much. I don't think it was really my place. I was just working to prepare to be the best quarterback I can be, and whatever happened on draft day happened. But I couldn't be more excited about what happened tonight. I'm going to come in and be the best player that I can be, and try to help build a culture of winning here."
How much of a luxury is it having four or five former teammates in the building?
"I'm very excited about it. I loved playing with all those guys. Unfortunately, I was just never able to see the field with any of them. So I'm very excited to do that — and even some other guys have reached out to me tonight and the past couple of weeks — to just start building those relationships."
This is a franchise and city that hasn't won a playoff game since 1991. Is that something that you have to mentally adjust for?
"No, you don't mentally adjust for it at all. You don't sacrifice your standards for anything. I think going into the season and thinking our goal is to win a playoff game this year — I don't think that's the case. I don't think that's the right way to go about it. I think you go in to the season, we're going to work really, really hard and focus on one play and one week at a time, and we're going to win a lot of football games that way. I think if you go in thinking, 'Oh this is the year we're going to the playoffs, this is the year we're going to win a playoff game,' it gets too daunting. It sounds corny, but you've just got to focus on every single step of the process."
Maybe there's more pressure for a No. 1 pick here than in other places because that success hasn't been here in so long. Is that something that you've thought about, and that you have to adapt to it perhaps?
"For me, it doesn't matter where you get picked. I could've been the 189th pick or I could've been No. 1. I'm going to work the exact same, and try to be the best quarterback I can be for this city."
At what point last season as you were going through the process did you think, 'We're going to be pretty good here'?
"As soon as we walked off the field in my junior year after the bowl game. I knew exactly what was going to happen. I knew the guys we had coming back. I knew the people, more importantly, that we had coming back — great guys that just worked really, really hard and knew what it took to do what we wanted to do, and that was win a national title. And like I said before, we didn't focus on winning the national championship, we focused on dominating every single team that we played, and I think that was the key to our success."
If we talked to any of your teammates from LSU and asked them what was the one key ingredient that made you the leader, what would they say?
"I think 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. We're not super racially diverse, but we're very socioeconomically diverse, so you get (to know) a lot of different kinds of people. And I think 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."
You talked on ESPN Radio the other day about how this social distancing period can be advantageous for you. Can you elaborate on how you've been taking advantage of what otherwise has been a difficult time?
"Yeah, I think it really has been an advantage for me. I'm not missing any workouts because I've been flying — I'm not getting jet lagged. I'm just really focused on my routine, and going to work every single day — throwing, lifting, running. And I've really changed my body the last few months. I'm going to keep building it up for the season. The NFL is a physical game, so I'm going to keep lifting weights, getting stronger, getting bigger, getting faster, and the last few weeks getting in this routine has really helped."
How has your body changed?
"I've leaned out a lot the last few weeks. It helps when you have money to buy the right kind of food. That's one of the first things I'm going to do — I'm going to get a chef, so when I'm done with my workouts I can come home and eat great food to fuel my body and just relax. I think that's been key. My mom has been doing all that for me right now, so it's been awesome being home. Now the next step is putting on more muscle and gaining some weight before the season starts."
You've faced a lot of adversity in your career. How do you think that the path you've taken has prepared you for what you're going to face here?
"Teams are picking at the top of the draft for a reason. I'm not going to sacrifice my standards of play, and I expect to go out and win every single football game, but you also have to be realistic. I've gone through ups and downs. And through the entire process, I've just kept working hard, and kept faith in that preparation and that hard work to get me to this point. And that's exactly what I'm going to keep doing through the ups and downs this next year and the years to follow."
What new teammates have reached out to you tonight?
"Joe Mixon messaged me right as the draft was starting. Tyler Boyd, and C.J. (Uzomah) the tight end reached out. Sam Hubbard, obviously, he reached out. I'm just excited. It feels like a great culture that's being built, and great guys that I'll be with."
What new teammates have reached out to you so far?
"Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd messaged me as soon as the draft started. The tight end, C.J. (Uzomah) reached out. Sam Hubbard obviously reached out. It feels like a great culture being built, and great guys that I'll be with."
What level of swagger would you describe yourself as having?
"I think it's another term for confidence. My confidence was really shaken after I left Ohio State. I didn't know if I could do it. I knew I had put the work in, but I hadn't done it yet. So I wasn't quite sure. After the last few games of my junior season, it started to click for me. I knew exactly what I had to work on in the offseason to really take my game to the next level. That made me super confident in myself, and I also had great people around me that I had total faith in. We had great coaches as well. So that's why I was so confident in us and me."
You listed all your offensive linemen in your Heisman Speech, and that seemed to stand out to a lot of people…
"I think those guys are some of the most underappreciated people in not just football, but the entire sports world. We had a lot of great guys on that offensive line that worked their tails off to protect me and let me throw the ball. They know how much they mean to me, I just wanted to let the world know the kind of work they've put in."
What does your schedule look like tomorrow?
"I'll get with the public relations people and see how many interviews I have to do. I assume I'll be watching the draft again tomorrow night with my family, and see where my guys get picked."
How are you preparing to compete on the NFL level?
"I want to be the best player I can be. I'll have to get mental reps in from missing these mini camps 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."
What jersey number will you wear? No. 9? No. 10?
"I did think about No. 10 a little, but I had some not-so-great memories when I wore it last. No. 9 had some great ones, so I decided to stick with it."
Teammates always mention how competitive you are in everything. Is that true?
"I think so. I've always prided myself on competitiveness. Ping pong, video games, football, basketball, chess — it doesn't matter, I'm going to win."
Is there a certain level of pressure that comes with being the top pick?
"Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. I'm not going to focus on that. I'm going to focus on putting in the work every day to become the best player I can be. The media loves to talk about pressure, and I think some guys let it get to them. I think if I put in the work, that pressure will be mitigated."
Do you think about all the records you set last season? There were a lot of them...
"Hopefully in 20 years after I retire. I haven't thought about it in months."
What's the story behind the shirt you're wearing? (outline of the state of Ohio, with "740" inside of it)
"It's the area code of southeast Ohio. I signed with Nike, and they made some great custom stuff for me. It's what I wanted to represent. We have more in the works as far as foundations go, but I'm excited to help my hometown."
Whose idea was it?
"Mine. I had some shirts that said it before, but not like this. Nike came to me with this idea, and I loved it."
How important would it be for you if the Bengals picked a WR in the second round?
"The more help you can get as a quarterback, the better. At the same time, I haven't been with the team yet. I don't know the holes that need to be filled. That's a question for me next year, with a year under my belt."
Have the Bengals asked you about any of your teammates?
"Every team talks to me about my teammates. I think the best way to find out about them is to ask players they've played with. I've played with some great guys that I'd love to have on the team."
What are your thoughts on Andy Dalton's situation? He has been the starting QB in Cincinnati since 2011 and has one year left on his contract...
"I'm not sure. That's a question for Coach Taylor and Mr. Tobin. Either way, I'm going to continue to work to be the best player I can be. If I'm with Andy for a year, I think it would be a great learning experience. He's someone that's done it for a long time at a high level."
Are you more comfortable with a veteran quarterback in the room?
"I'm going to make either situation work. If I'm all alone in there with younger guys, I'll make it work. If I'm with Andy, I'll make that work too. I'll adapt to any situation thrown at me."
You're wearing a silver chain around your neck. Is that the chain that Lil Boosie gave you?Y
"Yes it is. He gave it to me after the last game."
You've said in the past that you aren't a fan of Skyline Chili. Could those thoughts change?
"I haven't tried it in a long time. Maybe my tastes have changed. We'll have to find out. Maybe I'll try it here in the next few weeks."
You've talked a lot about your love for Gigi's Diner, a restaurant in your hometown. You've said the Western Omelet is your favorite meal there, but what's your second favorite?
"I honestly have never gotten anything other than the western omelet. That's the only thing I've gotten the last five years."
How excited is your girlfriend right now?
"She's very excited. We've been apart for a long time."
How often did you come to Cincinnati as a kid?
"I would come to Reds games as a kid, but other than that not too much. With my dad being a coach, we didn't do a lot of other stuff. I was playing a lot of sports and traveling a lot. We had a lot of baseball and AAU tournaments in Cincinnati."
You've talked about your love of video games. What's your favorite video game of all time?
"I'm stumped. Ask me at the next press conference, I'll have to job my memory.
What have you been playing recently?
"I'm playing Rocket League now, and occasionally Call of Duty."