Bengals QB Joe Burrow: Return to on-field activities a 'relief'

The No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft brings enough pressure, but being the No. 1 overall pick, the anointed savior of a franchise and having it all happen amid a pandemic is a new kind of pressure.

For Joe Burrow, a return to football was all he really wanted in the last few months. He finally received that opportunity this week.

"Feeling was just relief," Burrow said after officially signing his rookie contract Friday, via The Athletic's Paul Dehner Jr. "It's been a long time since I've been drafted. Stepping into the building was, it's about time."

Burrow is tasked with becoming the franchise quarterback Bengals fans haven't had since Carson Palmer and hoped Andy Dalton would become, but never quite did. It's not exactly an easily achievable goal, but it's the one placed on Burrow as the first selection in the draft.

Burrow earned the burden when he threw 60 touchdowns and won the Heisman Trophy at LSU. Greatness has been expected of Burrow since he was slinging ropes and winning Ohio's Mr. Football Award at Athens High School, and those living along the Ohio River will continue to expect it now that he's leading the local NFL team.

Pressure? What pressure?

"It's just football," Burrow said. "Doing what I've always done. Working the way I've always worked. I can't get complacent, I haven't done anything yet."

He's correct, but if Friday showed anything, Burrow -- who said he was "probably throwing it a little harder than I should have in a walkthrough" -- is more than prepared for what lies ahead. He touted the receiving corps to whom he'll be throwing in 2020, and he even explained his financial strategy as a professional, saying he'll only spend his marketing money while letting his contract income accrue interest in the bank.

He's thought about it long enough. Burrow is ready to get going.

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