Joe Burrow surprises LSU professor with signed jersey, essay from her class
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A college professor who taught Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow now has two treasured items that he gave to her as thank you gifts.
Dr. Leslie Blanchard with Louisiana State University’s Leadership Development Institute was one of Burrow’s professors during his time at LSU.
She says many LSU fans have continued to support Burrow and Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase, even after they left the university and the school’s football team.
“We fell in love with these guys for what they did for us here in Baton Rouge, and so following them and cheering for them and watching them grow is great,” Dr. Blanchard said.
She believes Burrow learned a lot during his leadership studies.
“In addition to doing as much as he could to advance his athleticism and his ability to throw a football accurately, he also put in the work in building team dynamics,” Dr. Blanchard said.
After grading Burrow’s final paper, Dr. Blanchard, impressed by his skills both on and off the field, jokingly asked him to remember her should his success carry him far.
“I sent him a message saying ‘hey look, I want you to go ahead and sign this [essay]. I want you to send it back to me, who knows, you might win the Heisman trophy. You might win the national championship. If you ever get into a position where reporters and commenters are bragging about your leadership, I want to be able to tell people I taught you that,’” Dr. Blanchard said.
Once that championship football season came to an end, Dr. Blanchard says Burrow followed through.
“Total surprise,” she said. “I got this box from UPS, from the Plains, Ohio, and I picked it up, and the paper was in there, as well as a jersey that he signed for me, which was really cool.”
Dr. Blanchard admits she cannot take credit for Burrow’s natural talent, but she hopes her lessons in leadership have helped him lead his team to the Super Bowl.
“He was definitely born with something special, but he did the work, and he put in the effort, and he put in the energy to take that gift and really bring it to the next level to become elite and to achieve greatness, and I can’t wait to see where this takes him,” she said.
Dr. Blanchard said the signed essay is now framed in her home, and the signed LSU jersey is a prized possession.
She says she will be at a Bengals-themed bar in Louisiana on Sunday, cheering on Burrow and all of the Cincinnati Bengals.
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