CINCINNATI (AP) — Joe Burrow will miss the rest of the season with a torn ligament in his right wrist, ending a disappointing campaign for the Cincinnati Bengals’ star quarterback in the first year of a $275 million contract.
Burrow and Cincinnati coach Zac Taylor disclosed the injury Friday and said it would likely require surgery.
The 26-year-old Burrow established himself as one of the league’s top quarterbacks while leading the Bengals to the Super Bowl after the 2021 season and the AFC title game the following year, goals that now appear unattainable for Cincinnati (5-5) with his backup, Jake Browning, taking over. The Bengals are last in the AFC North after winning the division the previous two years.
Burrow left during the second quarter of a 34-20 loss at Baltimore on Thursday night after he threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Joe Mixon. Burrow doubled over in pain and held his wrist after the throw.
He said Friday the injury likely happened on the play before, when he landed on his wrist on a hit by Jadeveon Clowney after throwing a 9-yard pass to Mixon. Burrow added he didn’t know he landed on his wrist until he saw video of the play.
“I felt a pop in the middle of the throw. I tried to give it a go but couldn’t get it done and got the news today. I had a feeling before we got the official news (what the result would be),” said Burrow, who was 11 of 17 for 101 yards and a touchdown when he left the game.
Burrow’s insistence that his injury happened on that hit came after the NFL decided to investigate why he was left off the team’s pregame injury report, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because the review was not being publicly discussed.
The Bengals had posted and later deleted a video on social media appearing to show Burrow wearing a soft cast before the game, but the star QB said he only had on a compression sleeve, which is something he had worn previously on flights.
After exiting the game, Burrow tried practice throws on the sideline but the ball slipped out of his hand as he winced in pain. Burrow then went to the locker room and looked frustrated.
This is the second time in Burrow’s four-year career he has suffered a season-ending injury in Week 11. He tore two ligaments in his left knee during a game against Washington in 2020. The following year, he led Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl since the 1988 season and was named Comeback Player of the Year.
“I’ve been through stuff like this before so it’s nothing new. Like I said, it’s football, stuff like this happens. Just got to learn to live with it,” Burrow said.
Taylor didn’t sound concerned about whether Burrow can bounce back.
“He’s programmed differently. That’s why we’re fortunate to have him. That’s why he’s achieved all the things in his lifetime he has, because he’s able to overcome setbacks and challenges and plays with a chip on his shoulder,” Taylor said.
Burrow signed his five-year, $275 million extension, with a record $55 million annual salary, before the start of the season.
On the field, however, Burrow and the Bengals got off to a poor start. He suffered a calf injury on the second day of training camp and missed the preseason. He didn’t miss a regular-season game but was hindered by the injury as the Bengals started 1-3. Burrow threw two touchdown passes and two interceptions during that span and had a below-average 69.1 passer rating.
Burrow and the Bengals looked as if they had turned things around after that with a four-game winning streak that included victories against San Francisco and Buffalo. He threw three touchdown passes and had a 134.8 passer rating in a 31-17 victory over the 49ers in Week 8 and followed that up with a season-high 348 yards and a pair of TDs against the Bills.
The Bengals, however, have dropped their last two, and now Browning appears in line to be the starter for the rest of the season. They also have veteran AJ McCarron on the roster.
Browning was 8 of 14 for 68 yards and threw a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter against the Ravens. He spent the past two seasons on the Bengals’ practice squad before being elevated to Burrow’s backup this season.
Browning played at the University of Washington and went undrafted. He spent the 2019 and ‘20 seasons on Minnesota’s practice squad.
Taylor reiterated his confidence in Browning on Friday.
“A big part of the battle of playing quarterback is you’ve put in the work to have confidence. It’s not just you get out there and put on a brave face trying to trick everybody thinking you know what you’re doing,” Taylor said. “Jake has shown through his actions. I think guys think highly of Jake and respect the work he puts in. I can’t speak enough to the types of questions that he has asked in the meetings to make sure that he’s prepared.”
AP Pro Football Writer Rob Maaddi contributed to this report.
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