Ja’Marr Chase is one of the top receivers in the National Football League. And he knows what he is talking about when it comes to injuries.
When franchise quarterback Joe Burrow stretched a calf muscle early in training camp, Chase warned him to take it easy.
“I told him that with all honesty I don’t want him there,” Chase said at the time.
“Same thing with me last year. I sat out an extra game just to let my hip all the way heal up, and you don’t want to cause no other problems later on in the season, and I told him as long as you’re there after Week 5 and on, we’re good brother.”
Burrow, always the competitor, didn’t listen. And all signs pointed to the fact that he didn’t need to, that his calf was healed, and he could open the season as the Bengals’ starting quarterback. He made it through the season-opening loss to the Browns, then tweaked it in the closing moments of the loss the the Ravens last week.
But don’t misunderstand. It wasn’t that Chase didn’t want his best friend to play, because he knows how important Burrow is to the success of this team. It’s a long season, and Cincinnati proved last year that it is fully capable of digging out of a hole - but only with a healthy Burrow under center.
“I want Joe to be his healthiest when it’s time to play, when it’s time to matter,” Chase later clarified. “I don’t want him out there false-stepping and not 100 percent.”
Apparently, Chase was right, and Burrow was not back to 100 percent. However, getting to that point may require at least a couple more weeks of rest. The question now is whether the Bengals can give Burrow the time he needs to heal. But with $275 million on the line, and the fate of a franchise hanging in the balance, do they really have any choice?