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RB Joe Mixon addresses 'noise' on Bengals future: 'Everybody has backed me 100 percent'

Joe Mixon's status in Cincinnati has been a hot topic all summer, with rumors swirling that the Bengals could move on given his hefty contract.

But the running back told SI's All Bengals reporter Elise Jesse during an interview at his youth camp he's not fretting about the speculation, citing his relationship with owner Mike Brown as the reason he's confident he won't be going anywhere this season.

"You hear a lot of noise, but at the same time, when you don't pay attention and you don't see it, none of that affects you," Mixon said. "What matters most is Mike Brown. He comes up to me at practice and he's always happy to see me, and that's the best feeling. It don't get no better than that."

Added Mixon: "He's the owner, and he makes the decisions. He embraced me since day one and I love Mike and I know Mike loves me too, so it's a great thing to have. I feel like our front office, everybody is great to me, everybody has backed me 100 percent, and it's a great feeling. Just the love and support that I get from them continuously. Very appreciative. Words really don't explain the true feeling of what that means to me."

Mixon is slated to count $12.79 million against the salary cap in 2023. With no guaranteed money left on his base salary, the Bengals could save more than $10 million by releasing the running back at this point.

It's possible the Bengals could squeeze Mixon to take a pay cut before Week 1.

"They're entitled to their own opinions," Mixon said when asked about questions regarding a potential pay cut. "Sometimes it gets annoying, but at the same time, they're not me, so how could they understand? I just try to do whatever I can, like I said, this year will continue to prove on why I belong and why they signed me to what they did, you know? I'm very excited, very optimistic about this year as a whole in terms of what I feel like the Cincinnati Bengals is going to bring to the table."

Mixon is also dealing with legal issues this offseason. In April, he pleaded not guilty to refiled menacing charges.

The Bengals lost backup RB Samaje Perine in free agency and waited until the fifth round to draft Chase Brown to go along with backups Trayveon Williams and Chris Evans.

The 26-year-old Mixon's play declined last season. He posted 3.9 yards per carry on 210 totes with seven touchdowns. Mixon said he's aiming for a bounce-back in 2023, proving doubters wrong.

"I'm going to do my best personally to be the best player that I know I am and pretty much try to break every record that the Bengals have in terms of every running back position," Mixon said. "I just got to do whatever I can, stay solid, pay attention to my reads, and do whatever I can to stay on the field."

The Bengals roster remains one of the best in the AFC, and with looming big contracts on the horizon -- Joe Burrow, Ja'Marr Chase -- it could be the final run with this current group, including Mixon.

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