David Pollack knows a thing or two about both SEC football and the Cincinnati Bengals.
Between having a College Football Hall of Fame caliber career with the Georgia Bulldogs and covering the sport on a national level for ESPN, he's got a pulse on all things within the most competitive conference.
As for the latter, Pollack was a first-round pick of the Bengals back in 2005 and played two seasons in Cincinnati before a horrific injury prematurely ended his promising pro career.
We were blessed to have Mr. Pollack join us on a recent episode of The Orange and Black Insider. Our 35-minute chat with the former linebacker concluded with his thoughts on the long-term viability of the Bengals after their improbable Super Bowl LVI run this past season.
"Appendix or not, that son-of-a-gun would play without a leg," Pollack quipped. "He is one of the best players I've ever had the joy of covering, and he does it with such great swag. He's got the ability to extend plays with his feet, and he's just so tough. You saw that last year, I mean, getting hit in the playoffs over and over and over again. Every time, he's getting up."
A lot of people saw the Bengals approaching an ascension under Burrow, but few saw it coming as early as 2021. The consensus belief was that the team's AFC title last season came about a year or two earlier than expected, and now their championship window is wide open for at least the next few years.
"When you've got a guy like that under a rookie contract, that's when you can strike the biggest because you see the amount of money players are now getting at the quarterback spot," Pollack continued. "Listen, he's going to be next in line--obviously, you can't give him an extension until after year three, so that's coming up for him, but Ja'Marr Chase, you know, obviously a superstar."
Arguably the biggest storyline for the Bengals this year was in how they were going to fix the offensive line issues that have been so prevalent over the recent years. Ever since Andrew Whitworth and Kevin Zeitler left in free agency, Cincinnati has been clamoring to find long-term answers across the board.
This year, they paid premium capital to shore up three starting spots on the line. La'el Collins, Alex Cappa and Ted Karras are set to anchor the right tackle, right guard and center spots, respectively, and the difference has already been felt early in camp--even with Kappa and Collins easing their way back into the lineup.
"The offensive line was a little bit patchwork last year, but now obviously with investing in draft picks and in free agency, it's going to be interesting," Pollack said. "It can be a lot of fun. But, it's going to be a fun team to watch, it's going to be a fun team to cheer for, especially with a big-time QB they can keep around for a long time because he's an Ohio boy."
Oddly enough, Pollack witnessed one of the best single-season passing performances in Bengals history during his rookie season with Carson Palmer's insane 2005 season. While he was effusive in his compliments of that AFC North champion offensive unit in our interview, it's obvious that Pollack sees long-term sustainability with this new iteration of the Bengals under Burrow.
"I think he wants to be there and that's, you know, not always the case--playing in the cold and all the stuff that goes into playing QB in Ohio," Pollack concluded. "Joe Burrow ain't going nowhere--that dude is the real deal and in a couple of years, he's going to get paid like it."
Even though we ended on this note, we talked about a number of other entertaining items with Mr. Pollack. The NIL and conference-jumping of big-time programs in college football was one area, as was his time with the Bengals and the crazy potential in his draft class 17 years ago.
Aside from providing education and information on physical and emotional wellness to families, the Pollack Family Foundation also helps out the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, and provides assistance to Hope 139, whose mission is to help at-risk mothers and youth.
In addition to their continued help of the above-mentioned causes, their next big community venture is a Christmas concert. They are in need of financial help to get it up and running, and we are enlisting Who Dey Nation for support.
Here is the donation link at Give.Send.Go. You can also submit a “Super Chat” donation through our YouTube channel, or other avenues. We’re counting on all of you to step up in a big way! Donate and win some great prizes!
Our thanks to Mr. Shane Mitchell of the Pollack Family Foundation and Mr. Pollack himself for the time. Please donate to their great cause!
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