CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow returned to practice Wednesday for the first time since suffering a strained right calf July 27.
During the session that was open to the media, Burrow participated in all the throwing drills with assistant Dan Pitcher and the team’s backups, Jake Browning and Will Grier, who signed Wednesday with the team’s practice squad after being released by the Dallas Cowboys.
It’s a welcomed sign for Cincinnati, which was without Burrow the past six weeks as he recovered from the calf issue.
“It felt good, just to see him out there, see the big smile on his face,” Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins said after practice. Cincinnati receiver Ja’Marr Chase said that Burrow threw to the receivers in a “routes on air” period and also threw in a 7-on-7 session. The consensus best throw was a deep ball to rookie wide receiver Charlie Jones, who said the pass was “right on the money.”
“It’s all about the health and how he feels,” Chase said. “That’s the most important thing this year. Really getting him back as fast as possible and making sure he’s healthy and 100% healthy with his mind.”
Before Wednesday, the only public throwing session Burrow had was before the team’s preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 11. Burrow was not wearing the compression sleeve on the right leg that he has worn often since the injury occurred.
Burrow was not available to speak to the media Wednesday, according to a team spokesperson.
The 2020 No. 1 pick out of LSU is coming off his best season in the NFL. In 2022, he finished 10th in Total QBR and received votes for The Associated Press’ Most Valuable Player award for the first time in his career.
This is not the first time Burrow has had to deal with an issue leading up to Week 1. In 2021, he was coming off a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee that ended his rookie season. Last year, Burrow suffered a ruptured appendix just before training camp started.
But Wednesday offered an encouraging glimpse for the Bengals as Burrow accelerated his preparation for the season opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sept. 10.
“We still got a little more to see,” Chase said. “He didn’t really do as much today. He was always working into it, first day back. Just getting a feel for your reps again, your steps again, your timing, stuff like that.”
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