The message from Cincinnati was clear Wednesday: It's all systems go with Joe Burrow.
"I'm ready to go," Burrow said. "We're gonna see how these next couple days play out, because you never know with these things, but I'm expecting to play."
Burrow, who was a full participant in practice Wednesday, missed a good chunk of camp with the injury he suffered at the start of camp. The timing ended up proving to be fortuitous, allowing Burrow to heal properly before testing his calf.
Burrow told reporters every practice this week "will be important" as he tests the calf, ramps up to game speed and refines his footwork ahead of Cincinnati's first game of the 2023 season. That contest will truly be the first test of Burrow's health, but the quarterback said he at least feels as if he's in great shape because he was able to continue working out -- including throwing -- while recovering.
Burrow's return to the field will fill an important box on his checklist for 2023. Some might think the next task on his list is to agree to an extension that is expected to be quite lucrative.
For the quarterback, money is the last thing on his mind.
"It comes when it comes," Burrow said of an extension. "I'm not worried about it or anything. I'm not thinking about it too much. ... I'm focused on beating the Browns."
Burrow avoided a worst-case scenario when he injured his calf, side-stepping a potential Achilles issue. Such an injury would have affected his earning power, but thankfully, he's been afforded the time to properly heal before returning to action.
Now, he has to pull off a feat he's yet to accomplish in his career: Beat the Browns in Cleveland.