May 27, 2024

CINCINNATI — Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers have built a connection on a shared experience.

Calf injuries.

On Tuesday, Rodgers revealed on “The Pat McAfee Show” that he reached out to Burrow after the Bengals’ quarterback played through a right calf injury in the team’s 19-16 win over the Los Angeles Rams.

Burrow said the two connected last week as he wanted to use Rodgers as a resource given his own injury history.

“He’s dealt with calf issues his whole career and wanted to use him as a resource and get his thoughts, what he might have done,” said Burrow, who added that he considered what Rodgers said. “He’s been through it, done that. And he was great about it.”

Cincinnati held a walk-through on Wednesday following its game against the Rams on “Monday Night Football.” Burrow, who aggravated the preexisting calf injury during the Week 2 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, cleared a workout the morning of the game that gave him and the team confidence he could play on the calf. That night, Burrow threw 49 passes and helped the Bengals secure their first win of the season.

In his interview with McAfee, Rodgers praised Burrow’s toughness and described the difficulty of playing with the calf injury.

“For him to tough it out, I don’t think that people realize how much pain and limited mobility he was in,” Rodgers said. “But for him to gut it out last night and to make enough plays to win, like I texted him, that’s what great competitors do. They show up and play through the pain and don’t make it a big deal.”

Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said Burrow was straightforward about how he felt and what he was comfortable doing in the prime-time game against the Rams. But even at the beginning, the coaching staff was unsure of how Burrow might look. Burrow had important plays in the second half as Cincinnati overcame a slow start to get the win.

Callahan said the offense must be better as the season progresses, even if Burrow is dealing with the calf injury. But Cincinnati’s fifth-year coordinator acknowledged it does have an impact on how the offense operates.

“There’s a minor limitation that we got to work around, and that’s just what it is for the foreseeable future,” Callahan said Wednesday.

When it came to his mechanics, Burrow said generating velocity without putting too much pressure on his right calf is something he has thought about. He initially took time off throwing immediately after he suffered the injury in late July so he didn’t corrupt his mechanics.

The soreness Burrow felt on Tuesday wasn’t as prevalent on Wednesday, when he said he felt much better. Had the team held a full practice, Burrow would have likely been a full participant, according to the team’s injury report.

The quarterback’s practice workload will be monitored on a day-to-day basis as the team prepares for Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans (1-2), coach Zac Taylor said on Wednesday.

With a smile, Burrow declined to get into any specific advice that Rodgers has provided when it comes to playing on an injured calf. But the Cincinnati star is all ears.

“[I’m] going to continue to use that as a resource,” Burrow said of Rodgers.” He’s a great guy. Whenever you have a guy like that that’s willing to help, you’re going to use it.”

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