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Bengals QB Joe Burrow pondered banking career amid college football struggles

 UPI News logo: MainLogo UPI News 6/24/2022 Alex Butler

June 24 (UPI) -- Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow considered a career as an investment banker amid his early struggles as a college football player.

Burrow made the admission during an interview this week with NBC. The third-year quarterback, who led the Bengals to a Super Bowl appearance in February, spent his first three years of college at Ohio State before he ascended to stardom as LSU and became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Burrow threw just 39 passes over three years with the Buckeyes. He transferred to LSU in 2018 and started 13 games as a redshirt junior. Burrow then exploded for a then-record 60 touchdown passes in 2019 for the Tigers, en route to a Heisman Trophy and national title.

"I was putting in the same work that I always put in and wasn't playing," Burrow told NBC. "Of course there was self-doubt in that moment.

"I mean, when you don't play for three years, and you're putting in the work and you feel like you're practicing really well and you feel like you can go out there and make plays and do what you've always done, but you're not getting the opportunity to show what you can do, it's frustrating.

"And there were times when I started updating that resume, thinking about being an investment banker, or something like that."

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Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett were Ohio State's top quarterbacks during Burrow's redshirt year in 2015. Burrow was a backup to Barrett in 2016 and 2017. He sustained a broken hand in 2017, which allowed Dwayne Haskins to assume backup duties.

Burrow entered 2018 set to compete with Haskins and star prospect Tate Martell for starting duties. Haskins won that job. Burrow then graduated and transferred to LSU. Burrow wasn't considered a top NFL prospect prior to his final season, but shot up draft boards with his excellent 2019 campaign.

He left Ohio State with a degree in consumer and family financial services and earned a master's degree in liberal arts from LSU.

Burrow, 25, faced more adversity in 2020 as an NFL quarterback, missing six games during his rookie campaign due to a torn ACL and MCL. He rebounded with a Comeback Player of the Year campaign in 2021, completing a league-best 70.4% of his throws for 4,611 yards, 34 scores and 14 interceptions. He also was sacked a league-high 51 times.

Burrow, a two-time AFC Offensive Player of the Week in 2021, was not ranked inside the NFL's Top 100 players in either of his first two seasons.

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The Bengals quarterback said he took time off after the Super Bowl LVI to the Los Angeles Rams. He sustained several injuries last season and postseason.

"I didn't throw at all until organized team activities because I dislocated my finger against the Los Angeles Chargers," Burrow said. "I think that was Week 14 or 15. And that was kind of bothering me throughout the whole rest of the year.

"So I needed to let that rest. ... So I took a lot of time off. Didn't start throwing it until we started OTAs."

Burrow told reporters at OTAs this month that he feels better now and he is ready to "lock in" for the 2022 season.

"I think about football every day," Burrow said. "This month leading up to camp, it's more intense out there at practice, it will get a little more intense in the meeting rooms and my workouts and all of the above. It's go time."

The Bengals held three phases of OTA sessions earlier this month. Bengals rookies will report to training camp July 23. Veterans will report to training camp July 26 in Cincinnati.

The Bengals will start the regular season with a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1 p.m. EDT Sept. 11 at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati.

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