Video: Cincinnati Bengals sign OT Orlando Brown Jr.
Newly signed Cincinnati Bengals tackle Orlando Brown Jr. gives his first press conference since joining the team.
Sam Greene, Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow and his new bodyguard, Orlando Brown, met for the first time in a hotel room enjoying cheeseburgers together.
Brown and Burrow discussed what it would feel like to win a Super Bowl together.
The addition of Brown, arguably one of the best acquisitions in Bengals history, gives the team an even better chance of again reaching a Super Bowl.
For a second consecutive offseason, the Bengals’ front office has prioritized improving Burrow’s protection.
So, they went out and signed one of the best left tackles in the game. The team kept it so quiet that even Cincinnati’s offensive line coach Frank Pollack was shocked to hear he might be coaching Brown.
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“It really kind of came out of nowhere,” Pollack said on Friday. “I was not expecting us to be in position to do anything for someone of his caliber. It just kind of came on our radar, with me anyway, the day that we got that deal done. It was exciting. They said, ‘Hey, take a look at this guy, he might be in play.’ I’m like ‘You’ve got to be kidding me. Really? Wow!” So, it was surprising. It was fantastic. It was an exciting day for the Bengals.”
Brown is a four-time Pro Bowl tackle who just won a Super Bowl blocking for MVP Patrick Mahomes. And before that, he protected Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Now, he has the most important job on the team — protecting Burrow’s blindside.
Brown said one of the main reasons he’s excited to be in Cincinnati is to play with No. 9. Burrow has become a valuable recruiting tool in free agency for the Bengals over the last three seasons.
“I’m so thankful and appreciative to have the opportunity to play left tackle for a franchise like this, to be able to block for a guy like Joe Burrow, to be able to play in a system like this, it’s really something special,” Brown said during his first press conference as a Bengal. “I’m super excited for the opportunity.”
With Brown, the Bengals get a player with a ton of experience starting games in the NFL and someone who makes Cincinnati’s offensive line much bigger. Brown is 6-foot-8 and 340 pounds. Brown’s lineage of football is also what makes him an attractive player to NFL teams. His father, Orlando Brown, played 10 seasons in the NFL as a right tackle from 1993-2005.
“He’s got great length,” Pollack said of Brown. “He’s got great size. He’s got really good feet for a man his size. He’s stout. He can displace people in the run game. And I keep mentioning this, it’s amazing to me the success he’s had on both sides at this level. It’s impressive. Really a credit to him. It’s pretty fantastic. He’s a talented player.”
Why Orlando Brown views himself as a left tackle
It was important to Brown that the next team he signed with guaranteed he would play left tackle. There were several reports that the Kansas City Chiefs, Brown’s former team, wanted him to move to right tackle. Brown and Kansas City came to a disagreement in the negotiation process likely because of it. After failing to get a long-term deal done with Brown ahead of the 2022 season, the Chiefs placed the franchise tag on him.
Brown declined saying the Chiefs asked him to move positions.
Kansas City opted not to franchise tag Brown for a second season, signaling the team wanted to move on and allowed him to hit free agency.
Brown said several teams showed interest in him during the legal tampering period, but the Bengals showed the most.
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As far why it’s important to Brown to play left tackle, there’s a multitude of reasons.
“I just felt like there was an opportunity for me to be a left tackle,” he said. “I’m a franchise left tackle. As a young child, I set out to be a premier left tackle in this league. I studied Jonathan Ogden. I studied Andrew Whitworth. I watched Tony Boselli, Anthony Munoz even, so to be here in this position, it’s just crazy.”
Just a few days after news broke that the Bengals were planning to sign Brown; Jonah Williams has reportedly asked for a trade. Williams was supposed to start this upcoming season at left tackle with it being a prove-it deal in terms of what his future would be like with the Bengals.
It seemed likely that with Brown promised he will play left tackle, the Bengals would move Williams to right tackle. That is still a situation that can take place if the Bengals decide to not grant Williams his wish and trade him.
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The Bengals’ right tackle spot remains undetermined. When asked about Williams’ future in Cincinnati, Pollack reiterated how much he wants to coach him.
“I’ve reached out to Jonah,” Pollack said. “I don’t want to really spend a lot of time talking about that. I’d love to coach Jonah. I’ve loved coaching him. There’s an old saying that this is a great game and a crazy business. I hope we get to coach him. He’s a good football player. He’s got a bright future. Hopefully it’s still here with the Bengals in 2023.”
As Pollack said, the Bengals have plenty of time to figure out who the starting right tackle will be.
What’s most important right now is that the Bengals became an even better team with the acquisition of Brown. The future in Cincinnati continues to look bright.
“I want to win football games,” Brown said. “I want to win Super Bowls. To be able to have an opportunity to play somewhere like Cincinnati, I’ve been on the other side of some things for years, competing and playing against this group year in and year out. You know what you’re getting so when the offer came through, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.”