Jake Browning downplayed the Minnesota Vikings cutting him two years ago as extra motivation to beat them as the Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback this week. After Browning led the Bengals on a 14-point comeback victory — the Vikings first blown lead of 14-plus points in the fourth quarter since 1993 — the veteran quarterback admitted the final time he was cut by the Vikings did bother him.
“I think the emotional roller coaster is part of the game. There was definitely a little extra part (motivation),” Browning admitted after the Bengals’ 27-24 victory, via WCPO 9 News in Cincinnati. “Just before the game I remember getting cut there the last time and just being told like ‘Hey we might have a spot for you on the practice squad. Like go in the hotel and wait.’
“So I sat in the hotel for a couple hours not knowing if I had a job or not. I basically got a call from my agent that they didn’t even tell me (he wasn’t on the practice squad). I’ve been there for two years and I’ve been cut my fair share of times and that was probably the shittiest one.
“There was a little bit more this week.”
Browning signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2019 and spent two seasons there on the practice squad. After being cut for the final time by the Vikings prior to the start of the 2021 regular season, he signed with the Bengals a week later to their practice squad and remained there for two more seasons before beating out Trevor Siemian for the No. 2 quarterback job this summer.
“I know I denied it and I know there’s some great people over there,” Browning said. “It’s completely different coaching staff and everything and I want to empathize there’s some incredible people over there, but that one felt good.
“I think after the field goal (Evan McPherson’s game winner in overtime) I went over and screamed at a camera. ‘They never should have cut me.'”
Browning finished 13 of 19 for 184 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions in the fourth quarter and overtime of the comeback victory (134.5 rating). In his four starts with the Bengals, Browning has completed 76% of his passes for 1,180 yards with six touchdown passes to three interceptions for a 109.3 rating. He’s the first Bengals quarterback to win three of his first four starts since Boomer Esiason in 1984 and he’s the first quarterback to win multiple overtime games in his first four starts.
Browning bit his tongue the whole week on the Vikings, but he made sure to speak up after the victory. A veteran move for a quarterback that has made just four career starts.
“You can’t say that the whole week then go lose,” Browning said. “You just wait until you win so you don’t look like an idiot.”