NFL investigating Bengals over injury report compliance

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By Chloe Wojtanik

Boston University News Service

The National Football League is currently investigating why the Cincinnati Bengals did not list quarterback Joe Burrow on its injury report ahead of their Thursday night matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. 

The Bengals social media team posted a video of Burrow exiting the team bus at M&T Bank in Baltimore, Maryland and it appeared like he was wearing a soft cast on his right hand. After fans speculated about the cast and Burrow’s unknown injury, the video was removed from all social media platforms. 

Each day of practice leading up to gameday, NFL teams are required to compile an injury report that is released to the public specifying a player’s injury and their level of participation at practice. 

“The Practice Report is expected to provide clubs and the public an accurate description of a

player’s injury status and his level of participation during the practice week,” reads the official NFL Personnel (Injury) Report Policy, “All players who have reportable injuries must be listed on the Practice Report, even if the player takes all the reps in practice, and even if the team is certain that he will play in the upcoming game.”

Since the Bengals played on Thursday, the team had to complete a practice report on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Burrow’s name didn’t appear on any of the three reports. If it’s true that Burrow was dealing with a wrist injury all week, including when he arrived at the stadium on gameday, then the Bengals directly violated the NFL’s injury report compliance. 

The NFL routinely looks into injury report policy compliance. Punishments for teams may include team fines or potentially a lost draft pick if the investigation finds them guilty of a compliance infraction. The NFL warned teams at the spring owners meetings that they are required to list all injuries.

Despite being seen in a cast, Burrow took the field for the Bengals in their 34-20 loss to the Ravens. Burrow would only see two quarters of play before he left the game early due to an injury to his throwing hand. MRI results came back for the 26-year-old quarterback on Friday, revealing a torn ligament in Burrow’s right wrist. The injury requires surgery and thus ends Burrow’s 2023-24 season. 

“It’s tough. You work so hard for seasons and moments like these. So whenever you get hurt and ends it early, it’s tough to handle, but that’s part of the game. I’ve been here before, just gotta grind it out,” Burrow told reporters on Friday.

The Bengals will now turn to Jake Browning to take over the role as starting quarterback. Browning took over for Burrow after he left the game with his injury, going 8-for-14 with 68 passing yards and a touchdown pass to wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase. 

Cincinnati currently sits in last place in the AFC North with their 5-5 record. This season has been a down year for the Bengals squad as they’ve had long playoff runs in recent seasons, losing in the Super Bowl in 2021 and losing in the conference championship in 2022.

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