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Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase responds to Les Miles' early doubts

Having put up some impressive numbers in his rookie season, the Cincinnati's wide receiver had a few choice words for a former coach.

The Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase has had an amazing rookie season, but not everyone always believed in him. In fact the rookie had a few words for his doubters.
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports

In what has been a sensational first season in the NFL, The Bengals' WR has definitely been turning heads.

Bengals' Ja'Marr Chase pushes back on Les Miles

If there's one thing that Ja'Marr Chase enjoys as much as playing football, it's putting down the doubters. This season, the Bengals' rookie receiver has quite simply been on fire, as he has been an essential part of Cincinnati's run all the way to the AFC Championship Game in which they will plaay against the Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. When speaking recently his season and their prospects, Chase was asked if he could remember a specific moment from his past where he was doubted. While it took him a moment, It took a second, but Chase was able to provide an example.

"I can tell you, honestly, one of my best stories ever," Chase said. "Les Miles told me I couldn't play receiver when I was coming out of high school. That was something I had on my shoulders growing up. Les Miles told me that he thought I could play cornerback. I wasn't really in full position as a receiver yet. I just kept working on my craft. Offseason, waking up early in the morning just to work out. I just [stayed] focused."

Ja'Marr Chase then and now

When considering who Ja'Marr Chase is today and what he's done in his maiden NFL season, one can't avoid taking a look at who he was and what he did. While he never played for Les Miles - the coach left LSU where Chase attended after the 2016 season - Chase went on to become the best receiver in college before he arrived at his sophomore season. That season in fact is when he helped his team claim the national championship with 84 passes for 1,780 yards and 20 touchdowns. It was on that foundation that the Bengals selected him as the fifth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. There was some criticism at the time when Cincinnati made their choice and Chase's shaky start to life in the NFL - he dropped several passes in preseason - didn't help.

That, however, is in the past. With 81 passes caught for a total of 1,455 yards and 13 touchdowns, not to mention a division crown for the Bengals for the first time since 2015, the haters will have to be silent. For the playoffs so far, Chase has posted back to back 100-yard games against Las Vegas and Tennessee. What does that mean? The Bengals are about to play in their first AFC Championship Game since 1988.

Jerry Rice likes Ja'Marr Chase

Of course, we're not the only ones to notice Chase's performances this season. In fact there is a NFL Hall of Famer who has been quite impressed with the rookie's displays of late. Former San Francisco 49er and fellow wide receiver Jerry Rice has definitely taken note. Ironically, it was Rice himself whose MVP performance in Super Bowl XXIII snatched a title away from the said same Bengals.

"He doesn't seem like he's a rookie," Rice said on NFL Network. "He's playing like a veteran. His route running, his confidence, his game-breaking abilities. He wants the ball, he wants to be that guy. ...This guy can do it all. I think he's loving the limelight right now. He's having fun, and I think they have a legitimate chance of winning," Rice said.