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LSU quarterback Joe Burrow ready to play for any team that drafts him

'I'm not going to not play'

Indianapolis – Joe Burrow has no interest in taking a sabbatical from football, or in attempting to strong-arm his way from one NFL franchise to another.

During his media availability Tuesday at the NFL Combine, LSU's Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback – and the presumptive No. 1 overall pick in this year's NFL Draft – said he's going to play for whichever team that drafts him.

"I'm not going to not play," Burrow said.

Which means if the Cincinnati Bengals take Burrow with the first pick, Burrow, who graduated from Athens High in The Plains, Ohio, is ready to slip on a Bengals jersey.

"The only thing that I've said is I just didn't want to be presumptuous about the pick," Burrow said. "So that's why I've been noncommittal, because I don't know what's going to happen. They might pick me, they might fall in love with someone else. You guys (the media) kind of took that narrative and ran with it. But there's never been anything like that from my end."

Burrow led LSU to the national championship by posting one of the most productive seasons in college football history: 5,671 passing yards and an NCAA-record 60 touchdown passes, with six interceptions, while completing 76.3 percent of his passes. He also ran for five touchdowns for the Tigers, who finished 15-0.

Burrow will skip working out at the Combine and instead will work out for NFL teams at LSU's Pro Day on April 3. Teams are conducting interviews with him in Indianapolis.

"This process is all about talking ball," he said. "A lot of the physical stuff, they can see on film. But they get to know you as a person and a player. I feel like I'm really good at that, I enjoy talking ball with coaches. So I've enjoyed the interviews so far."

He also participated in the weight and measurement portion of the event, and drew attention when his hand measured at nine inches, considered less than optimal. Burrow took to Twitter on Monday to jokingly respond to concern, tweeting, "Considering retirement after I was informed the football will be slipping out of my tiny hands. Please keep me in your thoughts."

"These measurements, you can take some things from them," he said Tuesday. "If it's a glaring issue on film with turnovers, yeah, it's probably an issue. But I didn't have a lot of fumbles or anything like that, so I just tried to make a little joke out of it."

As for a face-to-face meeting with the Bengals, that's scheduled to happen later this week.

"I wouldn't say there's any concerns," Burrow said. "I want to learn a lot about a lot of different teams. Through these interviews, you just talk ball and that's what I enjoy doing. I look forward to – I think we're meeting with the Bengals here in a couple of days – I'm looking forward to just talking ball seeing what they're about, seeing the offense they run, seeing how they think about ball. So that's what these interviews are about, just getting to know the people and the process."

What the Bengals will find – if they don't already have a strong indication – is a player whose confidence has a solid foundation.

"I think it starts in preparation, and I'm really confident in my preparation," Burrow said. "I feel like I prepare better than anybody else and that's why I'm so confident, because I feel like I know what's going to be happening on Saturdays before it happens. And then hopefully I carry that over to Sundays with the help of the veterans and the coaches. But that's where it starts.

"My physical traits are limited compared to some of the guys here, right? And everyone can see it. So I've got to be smarter, I've got to prepare and I've got to know what's happening before it happens so I can play fast."

Burrow already appears to have a solid approach to his early NFL career.

"As a rookie you want to come in and just keep your head down and work really, really hard," he said. "I'm going to try to find a veteran that's done it for 10-plus years and try to just mimic what he does.

"I'm going to be a rookie, I'm not going to know a lot of things, but I know how to work. So I'm going to work as hard as I can and then when my time comes to be a leader, be the starting quarterback, I'll do whatever is asked of me."

TIS BETTER TO RECEIVE: Among the receivers conducting interviews Tuesday were LSU's Justin Jefferson (a nation-leading 111 catches for 1,540 yards and 18 touchdowns) and Tulane's Darnell Mooney (48 catches for 713 yards and five touchdowns).

Jefferson, who was born in St. Rose and played at Destrehan High, is a possible first-round pick who said he'd welcome the opportunity to play for the hometown New Orleans Saints.

"It would mean a lot to be at home, just to be playing for a Saints team that I've been watching for my whole life," he said.

He'd have a comfort level in New Orleans: The LSU offense closely mimicked New Orleans', after LSU hired former Saints offensive assistant Joe Brady last year. Brady since has become offensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers.

"I'm very comfortable with that style of offense, especially with our team," Jefferson said. "We had tremendous players (before Brady was hired), we just felt like we didn't have that right system for us."

Mooney said he intends to prove the NFL right for inviting him to participate in the Combine.

"It was an honor. I saw it as a respect thing. I'm here now, I just want to show why I was invited," he said.

Mooney, like every receiver, said he wants to run a fast 40-yard dash. "Everybody is trying to figure out where I'll time in the 40. I'm trying to speak it into existence – the 4.3(-second), that's what I want.

"I feel like I'm a pretty fast guy. On film it shows I'm a fast guy. But I'm just glad I'm given an opportunity to showcase it and just to show everybody that I am what I look like."

Mooney, who caught 48 passes for 993 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, said he grew tremendously from his experience at Tulane. The Green Wave improved from 4-8, to 5-7, to consecutive 7-6 seasons that included bowl victories.

"I take a lot of pride because in the beginning, we weren't that good," he said. "Just learning how to win, just having the mind-set of just winning. It's going to be even better next year. I'm grateful to experience both sides of the situation, the bad and the good."

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