Joe Burrow: 'I'm Expecting to Be There' for Bengals' Opener After Knee Injury

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorApril 21, 2021

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) throwing the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020, in Landover. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
Susan Walsh/Associated Press

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who suffered a season-ending left knee injury against the Washington Football Team last year, is optimistic about his chances to return to the field for his team's 2021 regular-season opener.

The 24-year-old spoke on The Cris Collinsworth Podcast featuring Richard Sherman about his recovery (h/t Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk).

"I'm very optimistic about where I'm at and also where the team is at," Burrow said.

"Rehab is going very, very well and lifting is going very, very well. I'm in great shape. Legs feel good; knee feels good. There's still a long way to go, but I'm expecting to be there on the first snap of 2021."

The former LSU star and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner was hit by two Washington defenders on an incomplete pass during the third quarter of the Bengals' 20-9 defeat to the NFC East champions on Nov. 22. He suffered a torn ACL and MCL and damage to his PCL and meniscus and missed the remainder of the year.

However, things are "looking up" for Burrow, as he also said on the podcast. He added that he's lifting normally, doing squats, running and even had his first throwing session within the last week-and-a-half. Burrow said that he can drop back and do play-action passes but that he cannot roll out and throw yet.

Burrow completed 65.3 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns (five interceptions). He threw for 6.7 yards per attempt and added 142 rushing yards and three scores.

The arrow is pointing up on the Bengals if Burrow returns for Week 1, which will feature the majority of NFL teams playing Sept. 13. The Bengals will bring back numerous offensive talents in wideouts Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd and running back Joe Mixon. They'll also welcome back offensive tackle Jonah Williams from injury. In addition, the team picked up offensive tackle Riley Reiff via free agency.

Also, Cincinnati will almost certainly look to provide more help for Burrow with the fifth overall pick in the draft, whether it be an offensive lineman (e.g. Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell) or a pass-catcher (Florida tight end Kyle Pitts or LSU wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase).