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The Conversation: The Dad Who First Told Ja'Marr Chase He's Always Open

WR Ja'Marr Chase celebrates during the Bengals-Cardinals game in Week 5 of the 2023 season.
WR Ja'Marr Chase celebrates during the Bengals-Cardinals game in Week 5 of the 2023 season. senior writer Geoff Hobson's conversation is with the man who came away with the record football from Sunday's 34-20 win in Arizona. When wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase caught his third touchdown pass of the day on his 14th catch, it gave him the club record for receptions in a game. As he has many times, his dad, Jimmy Chase, ended up with the ball.

GH: We always ask the players what do they do with the ball they get after a touchdown or game. But we never ask the person who they gave the ball to what they do with it. What are you going to do with the two touchdown balls Ja'Marr gave you Sunday?

JC: We're going to put that in our trophy case. That's what we do with those. He told me after the game I had the record-breaking ball. That's going in the trophy case. Ja'Marr told me (it was the Bengals record for catches in a game). I had forgotten all about it. we were so excited.

GH: How big is that trophy case?

JC: It's pretty big. We might have to bet a bigger one. We've been collecting stuff since he's been in Cincinnati.

GH: He's got a bunch of stuff from LSU, right?

JC: I have a majority of that at home in Louisiana. We're working on building up his trophy case. Ja'Marr's not big on that stuff. He likes it, but it's not the end all for him.

GH: What has he kept? I guess he kept his national championship No. 1 jersey because Joe Burrow asked him to bring it to New Orleans so he could wear it to the stadium before last season's game with the Saints.

How many balls do you think you'd have in your trophy case?

JC: I have about 10 balls. Ja'Marr has the majority of them.

GH: When he gives you a ball, what does that mean to you?

JC: It means a lot because when he gives it to me he means he let me appreciate it and he knows I'm going to take care of it. He doesn't have to worry about it. That's like his prized possession when he gives it to me.

GH: It shows you how much he thinks of you.

JC: He knows I keep all that kind of stuff. He's not going to appreciate it until he gets ten years down the line.

GH: What's your favorite thing in the trophy case?

JC: He has the Biletnikoff trophy (for best college receiver in the country.) That was a big deal. The favorite in mine? The game ball from the national championship. He gave me that.

GH: Do you have anything from the pros?

JC: I have the jersey he was wearing when he broke the rookie record for most yardage in a game against Kansas City. That was Ja'Marr's and Joe's coming out party. After they said Ja'Marr couldn't catch. Make sure you put that in there. I want to say the media made him that year because he was hell-bent on showing everybody who he really was. He had just come from not playing a whole year to playing his rookie year and getting acclimated to the game again.

GH: What did those two touchdown balls from Sunday mean to you? I guess he could give them right to you.

JC: We were sitting behind the bench. Usually we're up in a suite or something, but it worked out … We were waiting for his first touchdown, for one. And then every year he gets a three-touchdown game. At least one game. He doesn't know that, but I know that.

GH: Did you have an inkling after he caught the long touchdown that the third one was coming?

JC: Well, I said it could be his day with Tee (Higgins) out, you know? That's what I was thinking.

GH: What's it like to sit in the stands and watch that with your wife, Toeleah?

JC: It's pretty awesome. But the thing people don't know, what he's been doing we've been seeing

the same thing for years. He's not doing anything that we haven't seen. He's just on another stage doing the same thing. Junior high. High school. College.

GH: It looked like Burrow was Burrow Sunday.

JC: He said he was feeling good. Teams have just been blitzing Joe a lot this year. They stopped doubling Ja'Marr and they say, we're just going to blitz Joe because he can't move.

GH: I guess they can't say that now.

JC: Well, you know he's always open, right?

GH: What did you think when you saw his 7-11 quote after the Tennessee game?

JC: You know where he got that from, right?

GH: No.

JC: He got that from me. It's been the story of his life since high school. I've been saying that to everybody. Anybody that knows me will tell you I say, Ja'Marr is always open. I don't care how many people they have on him, he's always open. I got it just from watching him play. They always throw the ball up to him, they always have two or three guys on him, and he always catches it. So he was always open. It didn't matter where he was at, he would come down with the ball.

GH: And then he kind of kind of emphasized it and then apologized for his profanity and said he gets his cussing from his mom.

JC: They don't say much, but sometimes if you rub them the wrong way, they'll let you have it. He's a mixture of both of us. He's a good mixture of both.

GH: What does he get from you?

JC: His athleticism and his game savvy.

GH: What does he get from his mother?

JC: Ja'Marr is a quiet, soft-spoken guy. He doesn't say much. He doesn't like the limelight. The rah-rah. He gets all that from his mother. The other side, what you see on the field, that's what he gets from me. What you see off the field is what he gets from his mother. Everything he does on the field, he gets from me.

GH: He's a little reserved off the field. He gets that from his mother?

JC: Yeah, he's not the same guy on the field. When he gets on the field, I'm like, I don't know who this dude is.

GH: He may be quiet off the field, but he's got a great a personality and he gets along well with everybody it seems like. Engaging, gives insightful answers. I've been around here for a few eras and he's the only guy that's ever called me, "Geoff." It's always, 'Hob,' or 'Hobs,' or 'Butch.' I love it. My parents were the only one who ever called me that. Now it's him. He's got a great rapport with the media and that's probably more the extrovert side of you coming out a little bit to go with his mother's reserve.

JC: They don't engage with people that they don't feel comfortable with. If he doesn't feel comfortable with you, he's not going to engage with you. If he engages with you, he's comfortable with you.

GH: He gives an honest interview.

JC: Sometimes he's too honest. If he says something, he's going to back it up. He gets that from me. He's not going to just throw something out there and throw it against the wall and see if it sticks. He's got a plan. If he puts it out there, he's going to back it up.

GH: It would strike me he's becoming more and more comfortable in Cincinnati. Do you think so?

JC: Oh yeah. Yeah. Cincinnati is like LSU for him. It's a perfect fit because the town is just like Ja'Marr. On the weekend, it's a rah-rah town. They really get after it and then during the week it's laid back. Fridays and Saturdays and Sundays, they turn it up. I see it and then I've seen it from when we first got here to what it is now. It evolved into a nice little animal. The fans are passionate, but they look like they've been through something because it wasn't as quite as optimistic in the beginning and so now they bought in and they're carrying the team.

GH: You're a semi-retired social worker and counselor, so you know people, you can read people.

JC: I do that for a living.

GH: So you'd be as good as anyone to ask. Why do Ja'Marr and Joe click?

JC: They're the same person. Joe and Ja'Marr are the same type of person. The same type of people. When Joe gets hit hard, somebody puts a good lick on him, that's best thing for the Bengals, but it's the worst thing for other team. Because Joe is going to come back with a vengeance. Same way with Ja'Marr. When you do him something, he's going to come back with a vengeance.

If you punch them in the mouth, they're going to get up and hit you back. They're not just going to lay down. They're both gamers. And it's been like that for years.

GH: Did you play?

JC: I played two years at Alcorn State. I was a defensive back in the early '80s. I was right before Steve McNair.

GH: Did you ever play receiver?

JC: I started out as a receiver, but I couldn't catch. So I was a DB.

GH: That's hard to believe you couldn't catch since you gave birth to the guy who might have the strongest hands ever.

JC: I know. He put in a lot of work. I could have done that if I put in the work. I didn't put in that kind of work.

GH: How much work did he put into it?

JC: That's what people don't understand. Ja'Marr works really hard. He's a gym rat. He works extremely hard behind the scene. Kind of started him off like that at an early age and he just picked it up. It's just normal to him. He never has an offseason. He was always doing something to work on his craft at an early age. He likes training and he likes working out.

GH: He's always working out.

JC: He doesn't know how to give his body a rest. I tell him that. And he says, well, dad, I've got to do this, I've got to do that. He's doing well, so there's not much I can say right now because I think he's got it down. He knows what he's doing.

GH: Did you get a chance to see the Burrows on this trip?

JC: We see them every game. They're our partners in crime. The Burrows and the Chases are attached together. Package deal. We hang out with them all the time.

GH: What are they like to hang out with?

JC: They're just like us. That's the thing. That's what's so funny. Joe and Ja'Marr are the same type of people. And the Burrows and the Chases are the same type of people. Really reserved. We enjoy watching our kids play football and we like having a good time.

GH: And the dads are both defensive backs.

JC: Right.

GH: Could you cover Ja'Marr?

JC: Yes, I would be able to stop him. Once I catch him.

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