Bengals WR Ja'Marr Chase: 'Les Miles told me I couldn't play receiver'

Cincinnati Bengals rookie wideout Ja'Marr Chase once received a heap-full of motivation from former LSU coach Les Miles.

Asked Wednesday ahead of the AFC Championship Game against the Kansas City Chiefs how he approaches someone telling him he can't do something, Chase offered an anecdote from his high school recruitment.

"I could tell you, honestly, one of my best stories ever: Les Miles told me I couldn't play receiver when I was coming out of high school," Chase said. "That was something I had on my shoulders growing up. Les Miles told me he thought I could play cornerback, I wasn't really in full position at receiver yet. So I just kept working on my craft, offseason waking up early in the mornings to work out. I just kept focused."

LSU fired Miles in 2016. Ed Orgeron took over and had zero issues at that point with Chase as a receiver when he enrolled in 2018.

Since Miles' comments, all Chase has done is have one of the most prolific seasons in college history (84 catches, 1,780 yards, 20 TDs in 2019) and set multiple NFL rookie records.

Chase set the Super Bowl-era rookie record in 2021 with 1,455 receiving yards, soaring past Justin Jefferson's 1,400 set the season prior. Chase added 13 TDs on 81 catches.

The 21-year-old also owns the single-game rookie record for receiving yards (266), which came in Week 17 against the Chiefs. He earned seven receiving TDs on deep passes this season, setting the Next Gen Stats era rookie record.

Chase and QB Joe Burrow have connected on five passing TDs of 50-plus yards, tied for the most in history by a passer-scorer duo both age 25 or younger, including playoffs.

The wideout could continue to shatter records Sunday.

In two postseason games, Chase has 225 receiving yards (116 in the Wild Card Round versus the Raiders and 109 in the Divisional Round at the Titans). He needs just 18 yards to break the record for most receiving yards by a rookie in the postseason (242 by the Rams' Torry Holt in 1999). Chase could also become just the fourth player to have three games with 100-plus receiving yards in a single postseason, joining the Cardinals' Larry Fitzgerald (four games in 2008), the Chiefs' Travis Kelce (three games in 2020) and the Giants' Hakeem Nicks (three games in 2011) -- Fitzgerald and Kelce are the only players with three consecutive games with 100-plus receiving yards in a single postseason.

In his past five games, Chase has generated 642 receiving yards, third-most ever by a rookie in a five-game span (including playoffs and excluding overlapping spans) -- joining Odell Beckham as the only rookies with four games with 100-plus receiving yards in a five-game span in the Super Bowl era (including playoffs).

So, yeah, he's a decent receiver.

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