RICHMOND- Joe Burrow’s college football resume, particularly last season, is eye opening.
So when rumors surfaced that he would not play for the Cincinnati Bengals if they took him #1 overall, it was a hot topic.
Burrow has vehemently denied any of those rumors stating he would play for anyone.
“I’m not going to not play. I’m a ball player. I’m going to show up.” Burrow said to the NFL Media at the Combine.
Recently, Pro Football Talk reminded everyone that Burrow once had a different tone of heart when asked about where he would play.
Coming off a season where he led LSU to the first national championship since 2007, it’s no surprise that Burrow would prefer a situation that he could quickly thrive in, given his success.
Burrow’s dilemma is not new to the NFL as this has happened before where rumors were either spread and confirmed about the project top pick not playing for the team that picked them.
This has happened at least five times in NFL History and often with mized results.
The very first instance involved the first player ever picked in an NFL Draft. Running back Jay Berwanger was selected by the Eagles, who was then traded to the Bears.
Legendary coach George Halas ultimately wasn’t able to sign Berwanger due to money issues. Berwanger wanted $15,000 per year while Halas was only willing to pay $13,500. Berwanger ultimately spurned football all together.
The next instance was running back Billy Cannon. Drafted by the L.A. Rams in the 1960 draft, Cannon was also selected in the AFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, who signed Cannon to a contract worth three times what the Rams were going to pay him.
When news broke that he’d signed two contracts, it went to court. The judge ultimately ruled that the Rams had taken advantage of Cannon being naivé, and ultimately, Cannon played for the Oilers instead.
Another famous instance was QB John Elway in 1983. Elway used the threat of professional baseball to force a trade from the then Baltimore Colts to the Denver Broncos.
Elway would go on to have a Hall-Of-Fame career for the mile-high city by winning two Super Bowls, while the Colts were forced to wait until 1998 where they drafted their franchise QB in Peyton Manning.
The fourth was RB Bo Jackson. Prior to the 1986 NFL draft, Jackson accepted a ride on Buccaneers owner Hugh Culverhouse’s private jet to visit the Bucs.
Culverhouse told Jackson it was pre-cleared with the NCAA, when in fact it wasn’t. They revoked his NCAA eligibility, which cost Jackson his last season of NCAA baseball.
Following this, Jackson swore he’d never sign with the Bucs, but they still took him first overall, and he signed with the Kansas City Royals instead.
Jackson still played in the NFL however, as a member of the Oakland Raiders.
The one that modern fans know very well involves former Giants QB Eli Manning. In 2004, Manning was selected by the then San Diego Chargers.
Manning ultimately stated that he would not play for the Chargers and was traded to the Giants in exchange for their draft pick, QB Phillip Rivers.
It worked out well for both teams as the Chargers got a QB that has set multiple records and become a stability before leaving this offseason.
The Giants? They got two Super Bowl championships. Both thanks to clutch throws from Manning on game-winning drives. Both against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Usually, the player has gotten what they wanted and franchises either blossomed or failed due to the decision.
If at all Burrow did wish to the spurn the Bengals, reports had surfaced that other teams such as the Dolphins or Patriots would be willing to move up to select the highly touted prospect.
The offseason has officially begun with the NFL Combine, but there may be another story beyond Burrow’s hand size, and anything can happen on draft night.
The 2020 NFL Draft will take place on April 23-25 in Las Vegas. The event will be broadcast by the NFL Network, ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC.