clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Germaine Pratt makes it clear he wants to win; praises Joe Burrow for turning around Bengals franchise

Keeping Lou Anarumo also helped Pratt decide to remain with the Bengals.

NFL: DEC 26 Ravens at Bengals Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

NFL free agency is one of the wildest periods in any sport. Players are finding new homes at a rapid pace and millions of dollars are being tossed around by teams. It is one of the rare instances where players can have some leverage over a team, and they truly get to decide what direction their career is about to go.

Germaine Pratt got a chance to talk about what his motivation was to re-sign with the Cincinnati Bengals.

“We’re one play away, so why wouldn’t you want to stay? We’re close. It was a fact. I want to win,” Pratt told Geoff Hobson of “I’m big on loyalty. They gave me an opportunity when I got in the league, so why would I try to leave for a team that wasn’t as successful for more money? I didn’t feel right about that.”

A very clear message. Pratt wants to win, and he thinks the Bengals give him the best opportunity at that. His return certainly helps their chances as well. Pratt has really stepped up in the last couple of seasons to become a serious playmaker.

When Cincinnati needs a clutch defensive play to change the course of a game, Pratt is usually in the mix. No one will forget him picking off Derek Carr in the Wild Card of the 2021 playoffs to end the drought. He also stood up quarterback Tyler Huntley at the 1-yard line that allowed linebacker Logan Wilson to force the fumble that Sam Hubbard returned 99 yards for the touchdown.

Pratt also forced a fumble on tight end Travis Kelce during the 2022 regular-season matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs, which led to the game-winning score for Cincinnati.

You also should take a chance to watch Pratt before the snap. He’s often adjusting defenders' positions or running right to where the play is going. Pratt has proven he has all the ability to be a top-end linebacker in the NFL. His intelligence and recognition of what the offense is trying to do might be his most valuable asset.

Of course, playing in the same system since being drafted in the third round of the 2019 NFL Draft is ideal. It also helps that the Bengals were able to keep defensive coordinator Lou Anarumo after he came close to becoming the Arizona Cardinals head coach.

“Absolutely,” said Pratt. “I want to win and Lou staying, that helps a lot. Each and every year it seems like I improve and he lets me go out there and play and it’s always beneficial knowing the scheme because it makes you play faster.”

Pratt got a chance to further detail his thinking during a Tuesday press conference with local media after he officially signed his new three-year contract. One of the big takeaways was how much praise Pratt heaped on quarterback Joe Burrow for changing the outlook of this franchise.

After all, the Bengals won just six games over Pratt’s first two seasons in the NFL. They’ve almost won that many games in the last two postseasons alone, where the Bengals won five playoff games after not winning one in three decades, reached two AFC Championships, and earned a berth in Super Bowl LVI.

“The first two years without him (Burrow) were dark,” Pratt exclaimed. “He brought a light to the tunnel.”

Many expected Pratt to go somewhere else, possibly on a one-year deal to prove he’s an every-down linebacker. That would allow him to potentially sign for a bigger deal next year.

However, it isn’t as much of a sure thing as it sounds. Pratt would be joining a completely new team and system. He would almost be betting on that team being able to utilize him as he would be betting on himself.

It’s hard to believe the Bengals won’t start to utilize Pratt more on passing downs after this extension. He will still be subbed out at times, but he shouldn’t be viewed as any sort of a liability in coverage with all the plays he has proven he can make while he is on the field. He also will bring some crucial leadership to a defense that will need it as it heads into a new era.

Follow our Twitter page and ‘like’ our Facebook page for more Cincinnati Bengals stuff. Who Dey!