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Joe Burrow on Jessie Bates' absence: Bengals teammates will 'welcome him back with open arms'

Cincinnati Bengals star safety Jessie Bates continues to skip training camp after not agreeing to a long-term contract with the club ahead of the deadline for franchise-tagged players.

As the Bengals await Bates' return, quarterback Joe Burrow isn't sweating the absence of the defensive leader.

"Jessie's business is his business," Burrow said Wednesday, via "When he's ready to come back, we'll be excited to have him. Obviously a great player, great person, great friend. So when his business is over, we'll welcome him back with open arms."

Bates hasn't signed his franchise tender, so he's not technically under contract, and thereby not subject to fines for skipping training camp and preseason. While he hasn't reported to Bengals camp, the safety was in the building for their first preseason action last week, sitting in a suite.

Given Bates' importance to the Bengals' Super Bowl run last year, it's surprising how little has been made about his absence thus far; imagine if this was New York. Bates was a massive part of Cincy's postseason success, netting two INTs and six passes defensed in four games.

At some point, Bates is expected to report and return as the leader of the Bengals' secondary. Currently, it's unknown when that will be, but his Bengals teammates will welcome him back wholeheartedly.

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