Former LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase discusses his biggest challenge in the NFL

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Former LSU WR Ja’Marr Chase discusses his biggest challenge in the NFL
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Heading into the 2020 college football season, we were ready for an encore performance from wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase with the LSU Tigers. We never got to see it as he opted out of the season in late August. It would be up to Terrace Marshall Jr to carry the load for the wide receivers.

Despite his opt-out, teams weren’t about to pass on Chase’s potential at the NFL level. In 2019 he put together one of the best performances in Tigers history. Chase’s 84 receptions were third-most for a single season in school history. The 1,780 yards receiving that year were the most, just 40 yards ahead of Josh Reed’s 2001 campaign. He also led had the most receiving touchdowns (20), smashing Dwayne Bowe’s record of 12 in 2006.

Chase would sit out the entire 2020 campaign for various reasons, more than just playing the game he loved.

“I had a lot of stuff going on with my family at the time, so I wanted to take care of that,” he said. “During the season, I didn’t want to play a few games and then opt out because that doesn’t look right. If I’m going to play some games, I might as well finish the whole season. I was still debating on if I wanted to opt out in the spring when I did it.” – Jarrett Bell, USA TODAY Sports

After sitting out the season, Chase would be reunited with his former quarterback Joe Burrow in Cincinnati. The Bengals made him a top-five pick and gave their franchise quarterback one of his favorite weapons from his days in Baton Rouge. It wasn’t all sunshine and daffodils for the Biletnikoff winner in 2019.

Chase hadn’t played the game of football for 16 months prior to rookie camp.

I would say the only difficult thing was my quickness. Not as in quickness like with athletic ability, but mind quickness, reaction time quickness. That’s what it’s all about. Me sitting out that whole year definitely showed when I got back out here. I thought everything was going to be fine for me and then that was one thing of the game phase I was having trouble with. – Ja’Marr Chase via Paul Dehner Jr, The Athletic