Joe Burrow Interview: Body Armor Partnership, Paris Fashion Week and More

You mentioned Jamal and Justin earlier, they’re both fashion savvy people and are passionate about jewelry. Did they introduce you to the jewelry world?
Yeah, they had gold grills in the National Championship game, and I said, “If you buy them, I’ll wear them to the game.” But they never got them. So it would’ve been a pretty crazy moment if I had worn them and won the championship. But then Jamal bought me diamond grills before the Super Bowl. I didn’t end up wearing them, but I have some nice jewelry at home.

Who are the top 5 most fashionable men in the NFL?
I put myself on that list, I put Jamal on that list, I give him credit for that. [Awuzie] I’ll put myself on that list. I’ll put Von Bell on that list. I’ll put everyone on my team here.

What if there was one guy the Bengals weren’t around?
One player the Bengals don’t have is Odell.

He’s from LSU, so he cheated a little bit.
Yeah. [Laughs.]

Moving on to football, the talent pool at the quarterback position is deeper than it has ever been in NFL history, can you talk about why you think that is and if that’s an added motivation for you?
I wouldn’t say that’s what motivates me. Rather, I would say that my motivation has changed. At the beginning of my career, I was driven by doubts and criticism. Now, I’m driven by continuous improvement. I think that once you reach a certain point, negative motivation has its limits. If you focus on continuously improving your technique, body and mind every day, I think that’s the best way.

What does the talent pool look like today, and why do you think there’s such an influx of quality talent into that position?
I think it starts with the youth leagues. Quarterback coaches are getting better. They’re teaching kids how to throw the ball. They’re learning football at a younger age, so by the time they get to college, they’re a lot more polished than players from 10 years ago. That means by the time they get to the NFL, they’re a lot more polished. So if this trend continues, we’re going to see more and more talented players in the NFL, and we’re going to see players that continue to play great.

I think it’s an exciting time right now. And all of our players have such diverse skill sets. We’re not playing the same way we did 15 or 20 years ago. When you watch a game on Sunday, you’re going to see guys rushing for 150 yards and guys staying in the pocket and throwing for 350 yards.

You’ve said that improvement is what motivates you. Looking ahead to next season, what do you think improvement looks like?
Well, first of all, I want to play every game. I know I can play well when I play. I’ve seen enough ball in my career to know I can play better than anybody when I play. The biggest improvement this year has been my body and learning how to get through a season, get through practice with my body, be in tip-top shape. So that’s my main focus this offseason.

Who are your top five quarterbacks in the NFL, including yourself?
I won’t get into that. There are a lot of good players. But like I said, there are a lot of good players right now, and it’s a very exciting time, because there are a lot of players that are playing at a high level. And like I said, the diverse skill sets are a lot of fun to watch.

So I don’t like those lists. I feel like it kind of devalues ​​certain people’s accomplishments, and there’s no such thing as a top five of all time. There’s no top five in the game right now, and it can change from week to week. The best player one Sunday isn’t the best the next Sunday. It goes up and down. I don’t think those lists help anybody. A lot of great quarterbacks have paved the way for other great quarterbacks that came after them, so I feel like those lists kind of devalue the value of that stuff.

Your division is obviously projected to be the toughest in the NFL with four teams that could potentially make the playoffs. How does it feel going into the season knowing you’ll play at least six games against tough opponents that are poised to make the playoffs?
Yeah, the defenses we play in this division are the best in the NFL, so it’s always a challenge. It’s always a physical game. We know them, they know us. There hasn’t been a big rebuild in the last five years since I’ve been in the league in this division. So we’re playing the same guys. We know each other really well, and it’s an exciting time for this division. If we win, we’re usually the No. 1 or No. 2 seed, so it’ll be interesting to see how it plays out. Baltimore is the team to beat. They won last year. We won the two years before that, so we’ve got to get back on top.

What will it take to knock the Chiefs off the top of the league this year? What do you think are the Chiefs’ potential weaknesses this year?
You just have to wait and see. That’s the fun thing about the NFL. Every year is so different. You don’t really know what your strengths and weaknesses are until you’re five or six weeks into the season. At first, you’re just trying to figure yourself out, but the teams that have had great training camps are the ones that find their weaknesses the quickest.

My focus is just to get in training camp and get better every day. And then when I have to focus, I focus on the Chiefs. It’s Week 2, so I’m excited to play the Chiefs early this year, but when we play them, that’s when we’ll play them.

The landscape of college sports is changing dramatically with the introduction of NIL. What are your thoughts on NIL?
I think it’s good for the players. I think it’s clear that the old system wasn’t the way it was supposed to be. I think there was a lot of money involved in that product that the players never saw. I’m not really sure this is the answer either.

If you’re going to pay players, you should put them in a contract that says if you play and get paid, you can’t move for a certain amount of time. I think this is a semi-professional way of thinking. There are people who have spent a lot more time than I have on this thought experiment, and I’m not sure this is the answer.

Do you wish it had been around when you were playing?
Yeah, I wish it was around when I was playing. [Laughs.] Everybody said I would have made a ton of money, but I don’t think I made as much as people thought I would have made because I wasn’t really a star until the last half or last quarter of my senior year. I was so focused on the season at that point that I wouldn’t have done as much of that stuff. And then once that year was over, it would’ve been NFL time and I would’ve been getting paid anyway.

So I think it’s been the most beneficial for female athletes. Even though they don’t get paid as much when they go pro, and some of them don’t even have a pro league, I think a lot of stars have been born and women’s sports have grown because of NIL.

A lot of people have mentioned your LSU team and its hall of fame as the greatest college football team of all time. Do you agree with that?
Yeah, I think we’re the best. The 2002 Hurricanes or us. I don’t think you can really decide until everyone’s professional career is over and you see how many Hall of Famers, Pro Bowlers, Super Bowlers we have, so I guess time will tell. There were a lot of guys on the 2002 Hurricanes, but I think our players are on par with anyone.

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