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Joe Burrow: Contract talk means nothing if I stink this year

Joe Burrow is back in action after having an appendectomy, but as he and the Bengals attempt to make it back to the Super Bowl and finally win, they'll have a big target on their back and history against them.

Bengals owner Mike Brown said in July that the team’s “whole focus” is on making sure Joe Burrow remains a member of the Bengals and the prospect of signing Burrow to a long-term deal after this season has colored other moves the team has made.

Selling the naming rights to their stadium created a new revenue stream that the team can put toward financing deals for Burrow and other young pieces of the team. That move supports the organizational focus on ensuring Burrow’s future is in Cincinnati, but Burrow said on Wednesday that his own attention is only focused on playing well enough to make sure the team doesn’t think twice about an extended commitment.

“It doesn’t mean anything if I go in and stink it up this year. . . . I’m focused on this year,” Burrow said, via Charlie Goldsmith of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Burrow’s preparation for this season hit a snag when he had an appendectomy early in training camp, but he’s returned to practice and will do 11-on-11 work Wednesday in a big step toward being fully ready to go for Week 1.