‘Les Miles told me I couldn’t play receiver’

One of the NFL’s most promising wide receivers and the presumptive Offensive Rookie of the Year was once told by a prominent college football coach, the former coach at the eventual program where he played, that he could not play wide receiver.

As the Cincinnati Bengals gear up to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in the AFC championship game, receiver Ja’Marr Chase told a story about how Les Miles told him that the coach didn’t think he could play at the position where he has become one of the NFL’s brightest stars.

“I could tell you honestly, one of my best stories ever,” Chase said Wednesday in a news conference. “Les Miles told me I couldn’t play receiver coming out of high school. So that was something I had on my shoulders growing up. Les Miles told me he thought I could play cornerback, I wasn’t really in the full position at receiver yet. So I just kept working on my craft in the offseason, early mornings to work out. I just kept focused.”

Fortunately for Chase — and for the Tigers — that opinion never was heeded because Miles was fired four games into the 2016 season, eventually being replaced with Ed Orgeron. Under Orgeron, Chase posted explosive numbers his sophomore season (84 catches for 1,780 yards with 20 receiving touchdowns) en route to an undefeated campaign and national championship.

Chase opted out of LSU’s 2020 season to prepare for the NFL draft.

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Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase (1) takes a video with fans after a 41-21 win over the Baltimore Ravens after an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 26, 2021, in Cincinnati.

In his first season with the Bengals, Chase caught 81 passes for 1,455 yards with 13 touchdowns. With that, he surpassed the NFL record for most receiving yards by a rookie in a single season, eclipsing the…

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