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#pounditFriday, September 22, 2023

Joe Burrow pushes Bengals to make deal with key defender

Joe Burrow on the sideline

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (9) walks the sideline in the fourth quarter of the NFL Week 12 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium in downtown Cincinnati on Sunday, Nov. 28, 2021. The Bengals beat the Steelers 41-10.
Pittsburgh Steelers At Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow sent a clear message to the organization amid its standoff with a key defensive player.

Bengals safety Jessie Bates is absent from mandatory minicamp as he pushes for a long-term contract with the organization. The Bengals placed the franchise tag on Bates earlier in the offseason, and reports have indicated he will not show up for training camp without a long-term deal.

Burrow came down firmly on Bates’ side when speaking to the media Tuesday. The quarterback offered a strong endorsement for Bates and talked up the safety’s value to the organization and its culture.

“Jessie’s a big part of this team,” Burrow said. “You can put a price tag on what he does on the field but I don’t think you can on hwat he does in the locker room. He’s been a guy who has kind of built what we’re doing here, and he’s one of the first.

“Jessie’s exactly the kind of player that I think you’d want to reward for the work he’s done for the last four years, through the ups and the downs. We weren’t very good for three years while we were here. He’s been through it all. We’re hoping that everything works out in his favor.”

Whether Burrow is intending to or not, he’s certainly putting a bit of pressure on the Bengals with his public comments. He makes it fairly clear that he thinks Bates should be rewarded with the long-term deal he wants, which would theoretically close the issue and bring the safety to camp as expected.

Burrow has not been shy when it comes to working on the organization’s behalf to bring in free agents. His efforts may be a bit less appreciated from the front office’s standpoint when it comes to internal contract disputes, but Burrow has his teammates’ backs. The locker room will surely appreciate it.


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