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Everything Jermaine Burton Had To Say After Getting Drafted to the Cincinnati Bengals


Wide receiver; Alabama

What was the call like when the Bengals picked you?

"I honestly didn't know how to feel. It's truly a blessed feeling. I thank God and I'm ready to work. They made the right decision."

When teams were talking to you throughout the pre-draft process, what did you want to prove to them the most?

"My passion comes from football, and I put in a lot of work. I have a lot of emotion that goes into this game. I express myself a lot through football. I just want to play. I don't care about anything else. Nothing else matters to me."

T.J. Houshmandzadeh shared after making the pick that he had worked with you. Can you share a little bit about your relationship with T.J. and what you learned from him?

"It's honestly amazing having T.J. train me the past few years, even going into college. Working with him is honestly great. Just to know his history, his background with the game of football, his knowledge on it and to see the way he thinks. The way he puts it into the drills, the way he talks to you and his terminology, it really helps me. We also developed a relationship to the point where we talked about other things — just life things and a lot of maturity and growth."

After the pick on the TV, a couple of the analysts said the talent is clearly on tape, but one of the reasons you were still available was some off-the-field maturity issues. What would you like to say to people who might question that after this pick?

"I'm Jermaine Burton and I just want to play football. I do this for my mom and sister. I have a lot of passion that comes from behind my history and what I've been through. I just want everyone to know that. I just want to play football and want to do this for my family."

From a football standpoint, the Bengals have a hole with Tyler Boyd no longer here at slot receiver. How comfortable are you inside? Obviously, you played a lot outside as well as a downfield threat ...

"I'm actually comfortable playing both inside and outside. I'm versatile and can do a lot of great things to help the team. I just can't wait to put my talent first and go head in."

What are your best routes?

"I love all routes. I love going deep. I enjoy playing all routes because behind every route, there's a certain knowledge. You don't run the same route the same way each and every time. There's different knowledge of each route, and I enjoy all of it."

How would you describe your game?

"Physical, passionate, energetic — just want to win."

How do you fit in to an offense that has Tee Higgins and Ja'Marr Chase already?

"Very well. Those guys have great skill sets and unreal talent and ability. I feel like we can all correlate with each other and really do some big things."

How would you describe Joe Burrow, your new quarterback?

"Amazing. I have no words. I'm honestly more than blessed to have the opportunity to play with Joe, get to know him and build a relationship with him. As far as any player on the team, I just look forward to building a relationship with anyone and everyone because the more comfortable I am with the team, the more comfortable I get as a player."

Do you think there's something unique or special about offensive football in the SEC?

"Yes, 100 percent. The SEC is a very physical conference. You have to have your head on your shoulders and come ready to play every game. It's honestly just a blessing to play with a lot of great talent and against it. There's a lot of attributes of playing in the SEC."

How do you think you've matured in the last four years?

"Just overall. I don't think anyone is the same person or same player from the time they walk in as a freshman to their senior year. Maturing in ways as a young man. Getting to know myself more, knowledge on life. Just living life."

Zac Taylor was noticeably excited on the broadcast after they picked you. What have your interactions been like with him and the team?

"Amazing. Each and every person I met on the team seemed great. I was excited to meet everyone. It was an honor to meet everyone, especially with him. He's definitely a light in the room and has a real energetic personality. I'm excited to get around him. I can't explain how excited I am right now."

After those visits, did you think that you would end up in Cincinnati?

"One hundred percent. Just based off the visit — the visit was amazing. It was honestly one of my best visits I've been on. It was truly amazing. Everyone had a great vibe. I feel like I connected with everybody."

Can you explain what happened with the Tennessee fan and is that something you've had to explain to scouts when they ask you questions about it?

"Yes. It was something I had to move past. It was a very emotional, passionate game. A lot was on the line throughout the season, and I moved on from that and learned from situations like that. We played LSU two weeks later and the same thing happened, and I was one of the first guys back in the locker room, so I clearly separated myself and understood what was at stake and didn't want to take the opportunity for granted."

How did working with T.J. Houshmandzadeh come about in the first place?

"I came out to California to work with JT Daniels back when I was at Georgia. We came out to California and were on the field working, and they had a receiver trainer and it was T.J. From that day forward, we created a relationship and I stayed consistent with him because he was out here in California and I'm often in California. Each and every time I'm out here, I pull up on him every day or every other day and continue to work with him."

Are there receivers you study or even try to play like?

"Yes, I watch a lot of receivers. I like to work out stuff on my own so I can improve areas I want to improve, whether it's running routes and disciplining routes. But yes, I 100 percent do, especially with zone coverage defenses. I like to see receivers work up to their zones."

You worked with T.J., he announced your pick, you're coming to his former team. Does this all seem like karma or something?

"That's honestly kind of crazy if you think about it. I just look at it as a blessed moment. I'm embracing it all in. I can't wait to continue to work with T.J. Overall, it's just a blessing. I'm just happy to be here."

How well did you get to know Amarius Mims during your time at Georgia? Have you stayed in contact?

"Yeah, we had a couple visits together. I was at the Chargers with him, and we actually had our Bengals visit together. So, I was around him a little bit more. I wasn't around him as much at Georgia because he had just came in. But yeah, we connected. Just a lot of joking about the process and how crazy it is that we are in this moment. I'm happy for him, as well."