Joe Burrow opts out of last season’s regular season game with AFC’s No. 1 seed in a row

Joe Burrow plans to sit out Sunday's game against the Browns.

Joe Burrow plans to sit out Sunday’s game against the Browns.
Picture: Getty Images

I’ve written that Joe Burrow is perhaps one of the best leaders in the NFL. But after seeing the stunt he pulls ahead of his team’s final game of the season with the AFC’s top seed in the ranks, I have to change my mind.

After seeing this, I’m convinced Burrow is a top-5 leader in the NFL now.

“Hey, stupid! He does NOT play the game. Can’t you read? It makes him a bad leader!” shouts the football fan with a large amount of fragile masculinity.

I can read well, thank you. And of course, the more senior football fans can see Burrow’s decision with a little more disgust, as Tom Brady has not sat out the last game of the regular season to rest once in his career. And yes, while it is admirable of Brady, it is also not the standard of greatness we should stick to our athletes.

Burrow suffered a semi-serious bone injury in the final moments of his team’s victory in Week 17 over the Kansas City Chiefs. Burrows backup, Brandon Allen, even had to come in and run a few games before Evan McPherson kicked the battle-winning field goal. I would think an injury is worth keeping an eye on, especially when the guy who was injured is in the MVP conversation.

Burrow has kept saying that his knee is “nothing serious”, But I would rather have absolute certainty that my best player will be 100 percent for my team’s first postseason appearance since 2015, than have him go out there and meet Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney while two of his five starting offensive linemen are on the COVID reserve may I add. There will undoubtedly be situations this Sunday where Burrow will face enormous pressure and be hit. The Bengals and their fans should not have their franchise QB’s compromised knee, regardless of the severity, near potential tackles and potentially ruin his chances of playing in the off-season or worse, miss matches next season to recover.

Also, this game means nothing if either Chiefs beat the Broncos (KC has beaten Denver in 12 equal meetings by the way) or the Tennessee Titans beat the Houston Texans. It’s such a small chance to have a goodbye week; it is not worth the risk.

Also keep in mind that the Bengals are playing against the Browns this weekend. You know, the same Browns who lost four of their last five and five of their last seven. To be fair, they beat the Lions and a “Lamar-loose” Ravens team over that stretch … with a total of FIVE POINT. Oh, and to add to the horror, Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield announced that he should not play this weekend either a proactive move to get his shoulder up ASAP so he can start preparing properly for next season. You can clown Mayfield for how he has performed this season, anything you want, but I would still rather have Mayfield under center than Case Keenum.

Instead of Burrow being selfish while dealing a minor injury, his decision to sit out this past week should be seen more as trusting that Allen and the rest of his team can beat a Browns team without Mayfield. I hope every quarterback had that kind of faith in his team. Sure, in the lone game Keenum started this year, he beat the Broncos, but he was not an elite arm that could win games for Cleveland. Moreover, Burrow’s decision to sit out this week is an indication that he is aware of the road ahead.

Although this is his first trip to the off-season, Burrow knows that the playoffs are all that matters and he would rather take care of himself and give it his all in an off-season match than give a partial performance in a match that most likely will mean nothing at all. The Bengals have just won their first division title in over half a decade. Enjoy the division title. Do not get greedy and ask for a goodbye in the first round now, all the while risking your star quarterback’s health – the AKA man who missed much of the 2020 season with a knee injury and has handled an injury to his pinky finger since the start of December.

To top it all off, I’m sure Burrow and the Bengals organization are aware that the Chiefs are playing on Saturday. If the Chiefs happen to lose, Burrow will still have nearly 18 hours to make a decision on whether he feels he can play. If the Chiefs win, however, this whole argument will be disputed and Burrow can rest whatever he wants to get ready for the playoffs. Asking Burrow to risk his health in a game that is unlikely to have any playoff implications ahead of the biggest battle of his career is selfish and silly.

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