CLEVELAND – Joe Burrow's childhood was pretty much the same as every other boy raised in football-obsessed Ohio, the NFL's birthplace.
He learned his ABCs and multiplication tables in school. Outside, Burrow got lessons on Paul Brown, Jim Brown, Boomer Esiason, Bernie Kosar, The Ickey Shuffle and Dawg Pound.
On Thursday night, Burrow connects to those roots.
This year's No. 1 overall draft pick, reigning Heisman Trophy winner and just maybe the quarterback to change Cincinnati's fortunes, makes his first road start as the Bengals visit the Cleveland Browns to renew a rivalry Burrow learned about as a youngster.
“I know the history behind it,” he said. "Excited for my first one.”
The 23-year-old's entry into the “Battle of Ohio” also comes on a significant date as it marks the 100th anniversary of the league's start in Canton, where an organization meeting on Sept. 17, 1920 kicked things off.
Burrow's debut last week against San Diego went about as expected. He made mistakes, showed the same resilience that took him from a third-stringer at Ohio State to national champion at LSU, and had the Bengals poised for a possible win. They missed a last-second field goal to force overtime and lost 16-13.
Burrow scored his first TD on a 23-yard run. He finished 23 of 36 for 193 yards, but was sharp down the stretch, going 8 of 11 for 70 yards on his drive.