Steve Bartkowski has a clear message to the Burrow family: Avoid Cincinnati at all costs.
"[The Bengals are] not the best organization, ”said Bartkowski after meeting Joe Burrow at a prize reception in Fort Worth on Sunday evening. "I know what it's like to go to a bottom feeder team. I would hate it to happen to him, to be honest."
Previous number 1 in the overall selection joins a chorus of people telling suspected number 1 to avoid the Bengalis. The retired quarterback Carson Palmer, who was named number 1 in the overall rating by Cincinnati in the 2003 draft, was extremely critical of the team's lack of winning culture.
"They are Ohio people," said Bartkowski. "I might have insulted them by telling them that if it were the Bengals, I would drag an Eli Manning onto it. I said you had a chance. That happened. [John] Elway set the tone, then the Mannings dealt with it after Eli was selected by San Diego. "
Manning armed the San Diego Chargers in 2004 and was eventually sent to the Giants.
Bartkowski was in a similar situation in 1975. Days before the draft, a fighting Falcons team traded in with the Colts for number 1 and was selected by Atlanta.
"Atlanta wasn't a good organization until Arthur Blank bought the team. It was a terrible organization. They didn't know the right hand from the left, to be honest," he said. "They beat me up. I got in the first spent three years more in hospital recovering from injuries than throwing touchdowns. It was difficult. "
The Bengals ended 2019 with a 2:14 record in the worst league and have never won a Super Bowl. The 23-year-old Heisman trophy winner avoided addressing the matter directly last week.
"If you choose me, you choose me," Burrow said lukewarm. "I have leverage. They have their process and I have my process. We haven't even arrived in the combine. Many things happen before the design and a lot of information is collected. At the moment I'm focusing on being the best soccer player I can be. "