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Joe Burrow opens up about challenges presented by virtual offseason

It’s difficult enough for rookies to acclimate themselves to the NFL under normal circumstances, so one can only imagine how difficult an all-virtual offseason must be for those entering the league in 2020.

Transitioning into the NFL world can be especially complicated for incoming rookie quarterbacks, and Cincinnati Bengals’ No.1 pick Joe Burrow recently opened up about the challenges presented by not being able to participate in traditional offseason programs like OTAs and minicamps.

Despite the obstacles, Burrow believes he’s putting in the work to ensure he’s ready to roll whenever team facilities ultimately open.

“I want to be the best player I can be,” Burrow said, per James Rapien of Sports Illustrated. “I’ll have to get mental reps in from missing these minicamps and OTAs. I’ll have to get into the playbook really hard and go through the process of calling plays in the huddle. The thing about being in the huddle is you have to be stern in your voice. If you’re wavering and fumbling over your words, players will look and think, ‘What is this guy doing? Get him out.’ So that’s something I want to be focused on.”

Burrow went on to express confidence that his leadership style will resonate with his new Bengals teammates.

“I just work really, really hard every day, and I think that probably rubs off on people,” Burrow said. “I’m just unapologetically myself, and I think that’s a good thing and people respect that.”

The Bengals were locked in on Burrow for months heading into the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite concerns that the former LSU star had reservations about joining his home-state team, the belief the Bengals would select him with the No. 1 overall pick ultimately became a foregone conclusion in the weeks ahead of the draft.

That being said, the pressure inherent to being anointed a franchise savior will without question be a challenge in and of itself for Burrow. Add in the unprecedented circumstances of this offseason, and Burrow’s transition will likely be an even more difficult baptism by fire.