CINCINNATI, Ohio (WCMH) — Rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who will be with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday when they play the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC championship game, shared what he called “one of my best stories ever” when former LSU coach Les Miles told Chase he couldn’t play receiver in college.
“Les Miles told me I couldn’t play receiver when I was coming out of high school, so that was something I had on my shoulders growing up,” Chase said Wednesday. “Les Miles told me I could play cornerback. I wasn’t really in a full position playing receiver yet, so I kept working at my craft offseason waking up early to workout. I just kept focus.”
Miles was fired from LSU in 2016, and new coach Ed Orgeron had no problem bringing Chase to Baton Rouge as a receiver in 2018. Chase went on to have one of the best receiving seasons in college football, recording 84 catches for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns with current teammate Joe Burrow as his quarterback.
The No. 5 overall pick in 2021 has far exceeded even the Bengals’ expectations this season by breaking Chad Johnson’s franchise record for the most yards receiving in a season (1,440), most receiving touchdowns by a rookie (13) and most receptions by a rookie (81).
Many NFL analysts and fans chastised the Bengals for drafting Chase instead of an offensive lineman to protect Burrow, who was coming back from a season-ending ACL injury after getting tormented by opposing defenses during his rookie season.
The Burrow-to-Chase connection has paid off, and now the Bayou Bengals hope to make more magic this week and send Cincinnati to its first Super Bowl since 1989.