After his rookie season was cut short, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow was already looked at as a player other guys would come to play with. As he rehabbed his left knee into the offseason, he made the front office aware that he was willing to help in any way he could.
The first reports of Burrow’s recruiting prowess was the acquisition of offensive tackle Riley Reiff. As Duke Tobin and the front office looked to improve an offensive line that couldn’t protect Burrow enough to keep him standing his entire rookie year, Burrow took it upon himself to help seal the deal.
After a steak dinner, Reiff knew where he wanted to be.
While Burrow remained relatively healthy through the 2021 season, the issue of getting hit carried over into his sophomore season, being sacked 70 times (including the postseason).
This time, however, the Bengals attacked the trenches early in the free agency market. In fact, the deal with Alex Cappa was announced just five minutes into the “legal tampering” period. Later that day, the signing of veteran lineman Ted Karras broke on Twitter, showing once again, the Bengals were all in on protecting “Joey Franchise.”
While the prospect of playing with Burrow certainly played a part in Karras and Cappa coming aboard, there weren’t many reports of Burrow directly recruiting them. However, the best lineman of the free agency haul, La’el Collins was a product of Burrow taking the extra step.
Collins was in Cincinnati for a visit in March, with varying reports on what happened, how long he was in town and just about anything else you could speculate about a visit. After reports of Collins leaving town, a fan disputing that with a picture of him at the Kenwood Mall and other reports, Collins ultimately signed with Cincinnati.
After the signing, we learned a night at Burrow’s house with Karras, Cappa and newly-signed Hayden Hurst was what sealed the deal.
As players got back in the building for workouts, Burrow was asked if that is something he plans to continue doing and luckily for Bengal fans everywhere, it appears he is eager to do so.
“That’s something I want to do every year,” Burrow said, according to Geoff Hobson. “I want to make sure the guys we are looking to bring in feel at home in Cincinnati and with the team because that is the culture we are building in the locker room. We are really, really close as a team, coaching staff, players, strength staff, trainers. I just want to portray that to the guys that are thinking about coming here and that we want to sign.”
If you’re reading this, chances are, you don’t need more of a reason to love Burrow. He has revitalized the organization, recharged the fanbase and is coming off one of the most successful seasons in franchise history. With the results he’s been able to deliver, I doubt anyone has an issue with him being involved in the free agency process going forward.