Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow may have ruptured his appendix 22 days ago, but it hasn't burst his timeline in getting ready for the opener that is now 25 days away in Paycor Stadium against the Steelers.
As Burrow prepared to participate in Wednesday's 11-on-11 team drills for the first time since he led the Bengals to the Super Bowl back in February, he also met the press for the first time this training camp.
"My whole career has been coming back from speed bumps and adversity. I don't know anything else," said Burrow, straight off a walk-through. "It's just another speed bump in the way. It is what it is. Got to come back from it. You control what you can control and this is what we're dealing with right now."
What he's dealing with right now is making sure he's not altering his mechanics to compensate for the surgery and putting back on a significant amount of weight he lost. He wouldn't say how much he dropped, just that he's eating "everything," to get back where he was before the surgery.
He's also not putting a percentage on where he is on the road to 100 percent.
"I was feeling the best I had coming out of the offseason training. Now I have to get back to that," Burrow said. "Have to go back to the high school days when you're trying to gain 20 pounds in a couple of week span. So we're forcing it down as much as we can.
"Throughout offseason training you're working on building your body up and getting more athletic- stronger, bigger, faster. So then when you get to camp you don't have to worry about all that stuff, you can focus on football, but when you have that surgery and lose your strength you've got to put that at the forefront again to build yourself back up."
Burrow's not trying to rush it so he keeps one of the NFL's most lethal throwing motions pristine ("at the beginning I didn't want to jump into it too fast because I knew that was a possibility that I would have to compensate and therefore change what I was doing"), but he's also looking to amp up in time for next week's two practices against the Rams. He thinks three weeks is a long enough timeline to get to where he needs to be.
"We didn't play in the preseason last year, so those are basically game reps," said Burrow, who has played three preseason snaps in his first two seasons. "You're not going to be getting hit, but you're going to be facing a different opponent in a practice situation that will be controlled. So you don't have to worry about getting hurt, but it's a game rep."
Burrow, who started tossing last week, is looking to get more velocity on the ball than he had in seven-on-sevens Sunday and Monday and believes it is just going to come with more time in the weight room.
"The more I have done each day the better I have felt the next day. That's kind of how it has always gone for me," Burrow said. "The more activity I could do, the more lifting, the more practicing the better I'll feel.
"Just getting my abs and core re-engaged. When they cut into you and do all that stuff your core is going to lose some muscle and some strength just getting that back."
_On how Ja'Marr Chase looks in camp: "Big, fast and strong just like he always does."
_On new tight end Hayden Hurst: "Very twitchy. Excited to have him … When you have our three guys at receiver, they're going to try to take those guys away. So Hayden's going to get a lot of one on one matchups that I think he can win."
_On Bengals president Mike Brown saying one of the reasons his club entered into a naming rights stadium deal with Paycor is Burrow's impending contract that can start to be negotiated after this season:
"It doesn't mean anything if I go out and stink it up all year. I'm approaching this season the same way I have approached every season in the past. I'm working really hard all offseason, having a setback, having a comeback from it. I'm really focused on this year and winning as many games as I can."
_On his team's expectations: "I think we're going to have a really good team. We have most of our defense back, added some really key pieces that I think have performed really well in camp, not just on the field but in the locker room. We've added some great guys in there, and that's just as important as on the field stuff … I think our expectation is to be in every game that we play in and win our division and make the playoffs. I think that is the goal every year."