Joe Burrow opting out of final regular-season game with AFC’s No. 1 seed on the line

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

Joe Burrow plans to miss Sunday’s game against the Browns.
Image: Getty Images

I have stated that Joe Burrow may be one of the best leaders in the NFL. However, after seeing the stunt he is doing ahead of his team’s final game of the season with AFC’s top seed in play, I have to change my statement.

Having seen this, I am confident that Burrow is now one of the top 5 leaders in the NFL.

“Hey, stupid! It is NOT playing in the game. You can not read? This makes him a bad leader! ” shouts the fan with a great dose of fragile masculinity.

I can read very well, thanks. And sure, older soccer fans might view Burrow’s decision with a little more disgust as Tom Brady didn’t miss the last game of the regular season to rest once in his career. And yes, while that’s admirable for Brady, it’s not even the standard of greatness we should stick to our athletes.

Burrow suffered a semi-serious leg injury in the final moments of his team’s Week 17 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Burrow’s backup Brandon Allen even had to go in and play a few plays before Evan McPherson kicked the winning field goal. I consider this an injury worth keeping an eye on, especially when the guy who got injured is in the MVP conversation.

Burrow went on to say his knee is “Nothing serious“, but I’d rather have absolute certainty that my best player will be 100% for my team’s first post-season appearance since 2015 than to have him out and face Myles Garrett and Jadeveon Clowney, while two of his five starting offensive linemen are in COVID reserve I might add. There will undoubtedly be situations this Sunday where Burrow will face tremendous pressure and get hit. The Bengals, and their fans, shouldn’t want the compromised knee of their QB franchise, no matter the severity, to get close to potential tacklers and potentially ruin his chances of playing in the postseason or worse, miss next season’s games for recover.

This game also means nothing if the Chiefs beat the Broncos (KC beat Denver in 12 direct meetings by the way) or the Tennessee Titans beat the Houston Texans. That’s such a small chance of earning a week off; not worth the risk.

Also keep in mind that the Bengals will play against the Browns this weekend. You know, the same Browns who lost four of the last five and five of the last seven. To be fair, they beat the Lions and a team of Ravens “without Lamar” during that stretch … by FIVE POINTS combined. Oh, and to add further dismay, Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield announced that … he wasn’t going to play this weekend or, a proactive move to heal his shoulder ASAP so he can begin preparing properly for the upcoming season. You can clown Mayfield for how he’s performed this season as much as you want, but I’d still rather have Mayfield at the center of Case Keenum.

Rather than Burrow being selfish as he deals with a mild injury, his decision to skip this past week should be seen more as confidence in Allen and the rest of his team that they can beat a Browns team without Mayfield. I hope every quarterback has that kind of confidence in his team. Sure, in the lone match that Keenum started this year, he beat the Broncos, but he wasn’t an elite arm capable of winning games for Cleveland. Additionally, Burrow’s decision to skip this week is an indication that he is aware of the road ahead.

Despite this being his first postseason trip, Burrow knows the playoffs are all that matters, and he’d rather take care of himself and give his all in a postseason game rather than give a biased performance in a game he most likely it will mean nothing at all. The Bengals have just won their first division title in over half a decade. Enjoy the split title. Don’t be greedy and ask for a goodbye in the first round now, all while risking the health of your star quarterback – AKA the guy who lost most of the 2020 season with a knee injury and had to deal with an injury on his little finger. from the beginning of December.

Finally, I’m sure Burrow and the Bengals organization know the Chiefs will play on Saturday. Should the Chiefs lose, Burrow will still have nearly 18 hours to decide whether or not he feels capable of playing. If the bosses win, however, the whole discussion becomes controversial and Burrow can rest as long as he wants to prepare for the playoffs. Asking Burrow to risk his health in a game that probably won’t have playoff implications ahead of the biggest game of his career is selfish and stupid.

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