The questions regarding whether quarterback Joe Burrow truly wants to play for the Bengals got started during Super Bowl week, when: (1) former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer said the team isn’t committed to winning; (2) Burrow hired Carson Palmer’s brother, Jordan, to help prepare Burrow for the draft; and (3) Burrow revised his position from “I’ll play for whoever wants to pay me to play” to “I want to play for a team that is committed to winning.”
Over the past three weeks, despite plenty of speculation that he hopes the Bengals don’t draft him, neither Burrow nor anyone close to him has declared that he wants to be drafted by the Bengals and/or that he will indeed play for the Bengals if they make him the first pick in the draft.
Meanwhile, the criticism of the Bengals continues, with another former Bengal joining the chorus. Earlier this month, Solomon Wilcots supported the claims made by Carson Palmer.
“Absolutely. Absolutely,” Wilcots said regarding whether Burrow should be warned about the situation in Cincinnati. “I was 100 percent behind Carson Palmer. And I watched as it sucked the life out of him. I watched fans in Cincinnati dump garbage on his home, on his lawn. I watched how others abdicated and tried to force the leadership onto him when he wasn’t given support to corral some of the … individuals that surrounded him. . . . Carson Palmer was a guy who was strong-willed, talented and needed more around him. He needed more support around him. . . . He walked away from the game because the love for the game had left him. And that’s a shame. And organizations need to be wary of that — that one man, in a bad environment, cannot turn it around by himself. I can just flat out tell you that.”
The environment has changed in many ways since Wilcots and Palmer played for the Bengals. Still, Mike Brown continues to own the franchise, and the franchise was bad enough in 2019 to earn the top pick in the draft, for the first time since using the top pick in the draft on Palmer in 2003.