Amid pandemic, Joe Burrow's hometown finds way to celebrate NFL Draft Day
ATHENS, OH – It’s a day many in Joe Burrow's hometown have been anticipating: NFL Draft Day. But cheering on one of their own as he becomes the number one overall draft pick won’t go as planned.
“We were planning on some big parties at the bar and a lot of house parties,” said Tom Kostohryz, a family friend of the Burrows. “It was going to be a great night. It still will be.”
Instead of hitting the town, people will be watching the draft in their living rooms.
“They’ll be a lot of beverages drank at home instead of with everyone at a bar, but they'll be a lot of celebrating,” Tom said.
The town had big events lined up. A parade in Joe Burrow's honor was in the works but has been put on the back burner due to the coronavirus.
“We had a little committee and we got together with the mayor and decided to have a Joe Burrow Day in Athens. In fact, the mayor emailed Coach O a couple of times, we were hoping to get him to come in,” Tom said.
But the excitement is not lost.
“I hope that he goes to a team in Ohio so that we don't have to travel out of state,” said 10-year-old Blake, who lives in Athens.
For a super fan like Blake, who's met Joe several times and was even gifted tickets to the National Championship, being able to watch the Heisman winner drafted into the NFL on his TV is just as enjoyable.
“We had to go pick up some Cincinnati gear,” said his mom, Robin. “It’s nice to have a role model like Joe for the kids, because he doesn’t forget where he came from. It’s good to see local kids around here have something to look forward to and say, 'hey I actually know him. He’s from my hometown.'”
A local t-shirt shop encouraged people to wear purple and gold Thursday to support Joe while social distancing. Regardless of the setting, the community of Athens and The Plains are ready to cheer on Joe Burrow Thursday night and support his new team.
“It'll be Bengal town come football season,” Tom said.
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