Joe Burrow to Play in Bengals' Final Preseason Game Amid Recovery from Knee Injury

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVAugust 25, 2021

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 16: Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) passes the ball during the Cincinnati Bengals training camp on August 16, 2021 at the Cincinnati Bengals training facility in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor announced quarterback Joe Burrow will play in Sunday's preseason finale against the Miami Dolphins at Paul Brown Stadium.

"It'll be very limited," Taylor told reporters Wednesday. "We'll be smart with what we do."

Burrow, the first overall pick in the 2020 NFL draft, will be making his first in-game appearance since suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee in November.

The 2019 Heisman Trophy winner was off to a solid start before the injury. He completed 65.3 percent of his throws for 2,688 yards with 13 touchdowns and five interceptions in 10 appearances. He added 142 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.

He ranked 24th in ESPN Total QBR (56.2) and received a 75.1 overall grade from Pro Football Focus during his debut campaign.

Last week, Burrow said he'd been hinting to the coaching staff that he'd like to play in the final preseason game to get a few live reps in before the regular season kicks off.

"I've been lobbying," Burrow told reporters. "Just saying what plays I might like against Miami, third downs, first couple plays. Just throw some plays out there and put them in their head."

His efforts appear to have worked, as he'll get at least a handful of snaps against the Dolphins. It would be a surprise if he stays in the game for more than a drive or two, though.

The Bengals are in one of the NFL's toughest divisions in the AFC North, where they'll have to compete with three playoff contenders in the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, but their offense features ample upside if the franchise quarterback is back to full strength.

Burrow is surrounded by a playmaker group led by running back Joe Mixon and wide receivers Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd and rookie Ja'Marr Chase, the fifth overall pick in the 2021 draft.

After Burrow exits Sunday's game, Brandon Allen will attempt to further establish himself as the Bengals' backup over Kyle Shurmur. Eric Dungey was waived on Monday.

Cincinnati opens the regular season Sept. 12 when it hosts the Minnesota Vikings.