May 29, 2024

New Bengals TE Mike Gesicki on QB Joe Burrow: ‘Never been in a huddle with that kind of talent’

Tight end Mike Gesicki has caught passes from his fair share of quarterbacks over his six-year career, including five over the last two seasons.

But the newly signed Bengals tight end already feels something’s different about quarterback Joe Burrow, saying this week that he’s “never been in the huddle with that kind of talent.”

“He’s been great. He’s been somebody I’ve been able to reach out to and have conversations,” Gesicki said, via the team website. “He’s been a leader in the locker room who a lot of guys look to. I’m definitely one of those guys looking to him. I’ve heard great things about him as a teammate. He’s easy to talk to. Good sense of humor.”

Burrow and Gesicki will have to wait a bit before they can start practicing together, as the QB is still in the midst of recovery from the torn wrist ligament that ended his 2023 season.

But once they’re on the field together, the Bengals see the addition of the tight end as a boon for an offense that has lacked a true threat at TE recently.

No Cincy tight end has had more than 500 receiving yards in Burrow’s four seasons, and last year’s unit did not have a consistent No. 1, as Tanner Hudson’s 352 yards led the position even as he only started one game.

Tight ends coach James Casey believes adding Gesicki to the mix could open up a new aspect of Burrow’s already potent passing game.

“It gives you flexibility when you feel like you have an above-average pass catcher at tight end,” Casey says. “You can put him in some receiving roles, too. You know Mike can do some of that stuff.

“Over the last five years I’ve seen him run across the field and make explosive plays. Go across the field, like on a crossing route, and he’s got enough speed and size to be able to separate and make those catches. Obviously, he can also go down the seam and his red-zone stuff is impressive.”

Gesicki, a 2018 draft pick of the Dolphins, spent the first five years of his career in Miami, starting 31 games over that span. Twice he recorded 700-plus receiving yards in a season, and in 2021 finished fifth among TEs with 73 receptions, a career high.

Since then he’s seen a downturn in production, collecting 32 catches for 362 yards in his final season in Miami before joining New England, where he had just 29 catches for 244 yards amidst the 31st-ranked offense’s overall struggles.

Despite the drop-off the last two years, Gesicki, now 29, still believes he can return to his former level of play, especially with Burrow throwing him passes.

“New team, new staff, new quarterback. Everything is new for me,” Gesicki says. “So I have to go out there and earn the trust. It’s more proving what I’m capable of doing and earning more and more opportunities once the football starts.

“It’s only April. A long way to go.”

The Bengals, along with most of the rest of the league, open their offseason workout program on Monday, April 15.

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