Could LSU quarterback Joe Burrow pull an Eli Manning and force his way out of Cincinnati before playing a snap?
It's a question that the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft didn't exactly scuttle when asked after receiving the 2019 Davey O'Brien Award in Fort Worth, Texas.
"I do have leverage," Burrow told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "They have their process and I have my process. We haven't even gotten to the (NFL Scouting) Combine yet. There's a lot of things that happen leading up to the draft and a lot of information gathered.
"Right now, I'm focused on being the best football player I can be. I'm in this unique spot. You can go watch my film. I don't have to prove myself at pro day and at the combine, so I'm in a unique spot where I can focus on getting ready for the year."
With the rookie wage scale negating most contract negotiations, the leverage Burrow owns could be used to tell Cincinnati he has no desire to play for the organization. It's a sentiment several have suggested Burrow should employ.
The Athens, Ohio native, who transferred from Ohio State to LSU, didn't say outright he'd play for Cincy if selected but noted to KTCK-AM the thought of playing close to home "would be a lot of fun."
Burrow carefully couched his comments, noting, "I can't wait to play for whatever team that drafts me."
The Heisman Trophy winner continually leaned on the well-worth athlete mantra that he's just working through the process.
"We have the combine. We have pro days," he said. "There is a long time 'til the draft. There is a lot of information in a lot of different places. A lot of people saying a lot of things. I'm just focused on training right now."
Burrow added he will attend the combine but is unsure how much he'll participate in on-field work.
Given his calculated responses to the idea that he could use his leverage to eschew the Bengals, the storyline surely won't dissipate before media availability at the combine next week.