CINCINNATI — Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said Thursday that quarterback Joe Burrow has looked the part as he returns from a strained right calf.
Burrow practiced for the second time in as many days after missing nearly six weeks with the lower leg injury. Callahan said Burrow’s rehab has gone according to plan and that his overall physical shape, arm strength and timing seem unaffected by his absence. It all points positively toward Burrow playing in the season opener Sept. 10 against the Cleveland Browns.
“I think he’s in a good place and we got a good plan in place for him to get ready for Week 1,” Callahan said.
Based on the description of his practice participation, Burrow was unofficially limited in the team’s final practice before the regular season officially starts.
Callahan said the next step for Burrow’s progress will be involvement in “intense team periods” when the Bengals resume practice Monday.
However, the fifth-year offensive coordinator said Burrow’s continuity with Cincinnati’s system and the players means it doesn’t take Burrow long to get up to speed.
“It’s part of what makes him special to begin with,” Callahan said. “And so those are his strengths that he’s playing into.”
Burrow participated in all the individual drills during the portion of practice open to the media Thursday. Callahan said the team has been cautious about having people around Burrow during practice periods to avoid any reactions to sudden movements in team periods. It’s similar to what the team did in 2021, when it tried to keep Burrow free from any potential pitfalls as he made his way back from a torn ACL in his left knee.
If it were up to Burrow, Callahan said, he wants to be involved in team periods as much as possible.
“We’re just trying to be smart about when and where those things occur until he is fully good to go,” Callahan said.
Earlier Thursday, Bengals coach Zac Taylor was noncommittal about Burrow’s status for the season opener. Taylor said the team would continue to take things on a day-by-day basis. He also declined to comment on the current status of the negotiations between Burrow and the team on a potential contract extension.
When it comes to increasing Burrow’s workload in preparation for Week 1, Taylor said there are no definite markers but that the quarterback is improving on the timeline the team envisioned when the injury occurred in late July.
“I don’t think there’s a defined checklist we need to see,” Taylor said. “It was just good to get him out with the team and calling plays in the huddle and all that good stuff at practice. I think that was encouraging for everybody.”