CINCINNATI — When Ja’Marr Chase was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, he confidently said he was going to break all the organization’s records. He still has his goals posted around his bathroom mirror and remains focused on achieving them.
Participating in the Bengals’ offseason workout program is an important step in his preparation for Year 3 in the NFL, as he and the offense work to continue evolving and he quarterback Joe Burrow can keep building up chemistry.
Chase came up short of his goal of 1,500 yards receiving last year, but was sidelined four games because of a hip injury. He still managed to lead the team with 87 catches for 1,046 yards and nine touchdowns, becoming just the second player in Bengals history with consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons to being a career. A.J. Green was the first.
But Chase wants more specific numbers beyond standard milestones.
“Cincinnati stuff — stuff to have my name written around this whole facility,” Chase said Tuesday when asked what types of goals and records he wants. “Every receiver record they have.”
Chase already broke Chad Johnson’s 2007 Bengals’ single-season receiving yards record when the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year had 1,455 yards receiving in 2021 — the second-most ever by an NFL rookie by 18 yards. Another one he is eying is T.J. Houshmandzadeh’s single-season reception record of 112 in 2007.
The hip injury limited Chase last year, but he said he’s 100 percent healthy now and making the most of his second professional offseason. That was evident in a video he posted on social media benching 350 pounds, something he said he does about four times in the offseason to push himself and make sure he’s staying strong.
Chase spent two months training in Austin, Texas, at The Kollective gym. Chase said he worked about three or four hours a day, and on days he was getting treatment afterward, that would add another two to three hours.
Being in Austin, a city he said it’s quiet like Cincinnati and “no parties,” he was able to just focus on working out.
“I didn’t change too much,” Chase said. “Just trying to master the stuff I already know the best. Fix up the little fundamentals I don’t really have all the way. … Can’t give away all of them. Just the easy fundamentals, the stuff you want to be the best at. Like staying low on releases. Staying low on breaks. Staying in shape.”
Chase said while his offseason work hasn’t changed, he’s learned more about how to set up his offseason schedule so it’s more of a routine like during the season. He still does a lot of running at the track and catches 100 footballs a day.
Asked if the way the last two seasons ended adds any extra fuel in the offseason, Chase said those big games motivate everyone.
The Bengals fell just short of a Super Bowl title in Chase’s first season, then lost on a last-second field goal in the AFC Championship at Kansas City last season. Cincinnati was driving for a chance to take the lead and had to punt away the final possession.
“I think the biggest thing is we have a lot of people that want to win in here,” Chase said. “I don’t think us losing is the fuel for us. I think us wanting to be great and seeing how much we can accomplish, I think that’s the biggest part about why we want to win.”
Chase thought when Hayden Hurst caught a 23-yard pass on third-and-16 from the Cincinnati 10-yard line against the Chiefs, that was going to spark a scoring drive to win the game. In the huddle going into the next play, Chase said he told his teammates, ‘Let’s just finish it.’
“It was close to endin’, but it happens to the best,” Chase said. “I’m not tryin’ to watch too much tape. I don’t want to dwell on a moment. I might get mad just watching in. I can’t really do much watching the film besides learn from Kansas City, how they may play me again. That’s all I can do.”
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