It's not crystal clear yet, but it's looking more and more like Joe Burrow the consensus number one overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft is not so thrilled about the potential of the Cincinnati Bengals making him their future franchise quarterback.
Rumblings that Burrow was sour towards the Bengals started Super Weekend when former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said that the Bengals are not interested in winning a Super Bowl. On the surface that really doesn't tell us anything, but when it was revealed that the Burrow family had hired Carson's brother Jordan to help prepare Burrow for the draft, the words took on more meeting.
The Burrow family has calmed some of those rumors. Joe's mother Robin was recently asked about Burrow not wanting to be drafted by the Bengals and she said that they have no idea where that story is coming from.
“We have no idea where that comes from,” Robin said, per star-telegram.com's Drew Davison. “It’s a story out there that someone has created that doesn’t have any substance - from our perspective at least.”
That should temper some Bengals fans fears for now, but that doesn't mean the story is going to go away anytime soon.
Former number one overall pick Steve Bartkowski recently said that Joe Burrow should follow in Eli Manning's footsteps and refuse to play for the Cincinnati Bengals if taken with the top pick in the draft.
The ex-quarterback personally gave the advice to Burrow's family Sunday night during a Davey O'Brien Award event honoring the LSU star.
"They're Ohio guys," Bartkowski, the Atlanta Falcons' top pick in 1975, said, according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I might've offended them by telling them that, if it's the Bengals, I think I'd pull an Eli Manning on that one. I said, you've got a chance to do that. That's happened. (John) Elway kind of set the tone, then the Mannings delved into it after Eli was picked by San Diego."
Manning famously refused to play for the then-San Diego Chargers, forcing them to trade his rights to the New York Giants during the 2004 draft.
Elway, meanwhile, threatened to pursue a baseball career after being taken No. 1 in 1983 by the then-Baltimore Colts, who eventually traded the Hall of Famer to the Denver Broncos.
The Burrow situation is a little different than the Manning and Elway situations because to date Burrow and his family have been consistent that there's nothing to the story. Manning and his with father Archie made it very clear that Eli didn't want to play for the Chargers, and Elway was clear that he didn't want to be a Colt. So, it's not a slam dunk that Burrow doesn't want to go to Cincinnati. But you can't help but wonder if this is a situation where there's smoke, there's fire.
Burrow made comments Sunday that he has "leverage" as the presumptive top overall pick. That of course helped further fuel the speculation that he would prefer to play elsewhere.
"(The Bengals) have their process and I have my process," said Burrow. "We haven't even gotten to the (NFL) combine yet. There's a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered."
The Bengals are in a no win situation. They can't be bullied by a prospect because a former quarterback says they don't want to win the Super Bowl. On the other hand, do you want to move forward with a quarterback who doesn't want to be there?
There is no way to know what the dinner is going to be about, but former Bengals receiver Chad "Ochocinco" Johnson revealed on Twitter that he will be taking Burrow out for dinner before the draft.
"Having dinner with Burrow prior to the draft to let him know he's in great hands because that f*****g city rocks and everybody will love you" - Chad Johnson
Not sure if Johnson can change his mind, or if Burrow will actually try to deter the Bengals from drafting him. At the end of the day, this will be a developing story until draft night.