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Bengals QB Joe Burrow returns to practice more than a month after calf strain

Joe Burrow appears to be on track to start for the Bengals in their season opener against the Browns

Joe Burrow is back.

The Cincinnati Bengals quarterback officially returned to practice on Tuesday, a little more than a month after he first went down with a calf strain.

Though the team has yet to comment on Burrow’s status, they have reportedly believed for weeks now that Burrow will be ready to go for their season opener on Sept. 10 against the Cleveland Browns. Tuesday's appearance at practice only supports that.

Burrow first injured his calf on July 27 during a training camp practice. He started scrambling to his right when he suddenly pulled up and started hopping on his left leg. Burrow eventually fell to the ground, and was later carted off the field.

The team didn’t say much at the time, only that Burrow would be out for “several weeks.” He didn’t play at all in the preseason, but he was seen repeatedly running and throwing normally before those games and on the sidelines.

"I think he has a very healthy body," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said on Tuesday, via ESPN. "And I'm encouraged by that.”

Taylor was asked about Burrow’s extended absence on Tuesday, too, and he denied that Burrow had been sitting out due to his impending contract extension. The 26-year-old Burrow is entering the fourth year of his initial four-year, $36 million deal with the Bengals. He’s the last major quarterback eligible for an extension this offseason, too. Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert reached a five-year, $262 million record extension last month.

Burrow threw for 4,475 yards and had a career-high 35 touchdowns with 12 interceptions last season. He’s completed better than 68% of his passes since entering the league, and he led the NFL in both completion percentage and yards per attempt in 2021. The Bengals have reached the AFC title game twice under his leadership, and made it to the Super Bowl in 2021.

So while it took more than a month to get him back out there, Burrow appears to be ready to go ahead of the season.