Joe Burrow won’t ‘miss a step’ despite appendectomy, Bengals coach says


The timetable for Joe Burrow to recover from surgery to remove his appendix is unclear, but the coach of the Cincinnati Bengals did not sound concerned that it might impair his star quarterback’s readiness for the regular season.

“The good news is he’s got two years in [the system],” Coach Zac Taylor said Wednesday of Burrow, 25, who underwent the procedure Tuesday. “… He’ll still have his iPad. He’ll still follow whenever he’s in meetings. We don’t expect him to miss a step, mentally, that way. I’m sure he’d love to have all the physical reps he could possibly get, but he won’t be behind the eight ball at all, based on what’s happened.”

Wednesday was the first full day of training camp workouts for the Bengals, who came agonizingly close to winning the Super Bowl in February after Burrow led them on a stunning run through the AFC playoffs. In his second season after Cincinnati made him the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft, the former LSU quarterback led the NFL in completion percentage (70.4) and yards per attempt (8.9) and set franchise records for passing yards (4,611), passing touchdowns (34) and passer rating (108.3).

Veterans did not have to report to the Bengals’ facility for training camp until Tuesday, but Burrow and other quarterbacks turned up Saturday to work with rookies. Burrow reportedly felt some discomfort, and after being examined by team doctors he was sent to a hospital for an appendectomy.

Taylor told reporters Wednesday that the procedure “went well” and that Burrow was set to be discharged that day.

“The timeline is obviously to be determined,” the coach told reporters. “But, again, everything went smoothly.”

Surgeries for appendectomies can lead to different recovery times, often ranging from one to four weeks, according to Mount Sinai’s health library.

Other NFL players who have undergone appendectomies may provide an idea of a timetable for Burrow’s return. Then-Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed Pittsburgh’s 2006 season opener after an appendectomy four days earlier, but he was back on the field for the next game. After then-Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel underwent an appendectomy in 2010, he played in a game 11 days later. Last year, Los Angeles Rams backup quarterback John Wolford had his appendix removed during training camp, at which point the team set his return at 10 to 14 days.

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The upside to Burrow’s temporary absence, Taylor said, was a greater opportunity for backups Brandon Allen and Jake Browning.

“It’s a good chance to really get a chance to see them, evaluate them, let them work with some other guys, and then we go from there,” the coach said. “And when Joe comes back, obviously, he jumps into those reps. But those guys have to maximize those opportunities they’re going to get.”

Cincinnati’s first preseason game is Aug. 12, and its last is Aug. 27. The Bengals’ Week 1 matchup with the AFC North rival Steelers is Sept. 11 in Cincinnati.

During training camp last year, Burrow was coming off a torn ACL suffered in November 2020, when he was a rookie. He will be eligible for a contract extension after the upcoming season. Bengals owner Mike Brown has already expressed his intention to keep Burrow in Cincinnati.

Burrow began his college career at Ohio State before transferring to LSU, where he led the Tigers to the College Football Playoff championship in January 2020 after winning the Heisman Trophy.

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