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Cincinnati Bengals’ Joe Burrow still on track in Week 1, hoping to reach ‘100%’ before training camp

CINCINNATI – The best case occurred for Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow on the road to recovery: absolutely nothing.

Burrow’s surgically repaired left knee showed no troublesome signs through the team’s 10 offseason drills, including Tuesday’s mandatory minicamp. Burrows optimism to play in Cincinnati’s season opener against Minnesota Vikings remains intact. With the knee still around 85%, he said the goal is for the top overall pull choice in 2020 to return to full strength before training camp.

“The knee still has a few ways to walk, but my upper body, my right leg, everything else feels better than it has ever done before,” Burrow said. “When I’m on the field and performing, I play better than I ever did before. So I continue the program we were on and return to 100% before camp.”

Burrow participated in all nine of the team’s organized team activities and the mandatory minicamp, which ended after the first of three scheduled days. Bengals coach Zac Taylor canceled the last two days citing the team’s full participation and quality work over the past month. Bengal security Jessie Bates suggested the team’s rising COVID-19 vaccination rates also played a role in the early dismissal.

Burrow showed his progress during Tuesday’s practice at Paul Brown Stadium. He worked on rolling out of his pocket and throwing on the go. In 7-to-7 exercises, Burrow did not throw a single incompleteness, with the session highlighted with a pass down the right hash marks to wide receiver Stanley Morgan. Burrow watched from behind during the team’s 11-on-11 practices as a quarterback Brandon Allen train reps.

Throughout the off-season training, the Bengals have worked hard to protect their franchise quarterback, who tore several ligaments in his left knee. Burrow has not yet had a pass-rush – even during the team’s half-speed review sessions closed to the media – for precautionary reasons, Taylor said.

However, the coach was encouraged by Burrow’s activity and progress in recent weeks.

“He’s done a good job,” Taylor said. “He looks good, certainly not all the way there yet, so there’s still a process we have to follow that leads into training camp, but you guys have been out there. I think everyone is optimistic.”

Taylor did not want to make any final statements about Burrow’s week 1 availability or even whether Burrow will get reps in preseason games.

But Burrow said he was happy with his knee condition as the team prepares for the start of training camp in late July.

“I am ready for the season as long as there is no setback,” Burrow said. “Right now it looks good.”

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