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NFL: Burrow and Bengals try to embody Ohio grit

Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow says his toughness comes from his Ohio upbringing and he tries to embody the mindset of the region in his play.

Some of the questioning at their final media availability ahead of Super Bowl LVI, for which the Burrow is 9/4 to be named the MVP, centred around the contrast between Cincinnati's blue-collar image and the Los Angeles Rams' Hollywood showiness.

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Burrow has been depicted as smooth and cool from his days as the cigar-smoking quarterback who took LSU to the national championship and from recent images of the second-year QB lighting cigars after the Bengals won the AFC North and later overcame the Kansas City Chiefs to advance to Sunday's greatest show on earth.

But the 25-year-old, who went to high school in Ohio and spent three seasons as an Ohio State Buckeye before switching to LSU, says aspects of the character that helped him become the NFL's Comeback Player of the Year come from his upbringing there.

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"I come from a small town in Ohio and that's the mindset I play the game with," Burrow said, via

Burrow grounded by Ohio past

"I just feel like the toughness that region has, I try to embody it in everything that I do. It's really molded the way I think. Not just about football, but life in general. You're seeing things that not a lot of people see. Poverty, people that are hungry. That helped mold me."

And, speaking of Sunday night's game, Burrow emphasised the need for the Bengals to establish the running game before he can have any chance of making any big downfield plays.

"I think you have to establish the run to keep teams with really good pass rushers off balance," Burrow added. "In the playoffs you see the best pass rushers in the league. You need to establish the run game to keep those teams honest."

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