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Joe Burrow's advice to young athletes: "Work in silence."

Burrow's advice could be a real life lesson to a generation raised on "Pics or it didn't happen."
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On Sunday, Joe Burrow could enter a whole new stratosphere of accomplishment in the most high-profile position in sports. With a win over the Los Angeles Rams, Burrow would own a Heisman Trophy, a national championship ring, and a Super Bowl ring. (Plus, it's hard to imagine the Bengals winning and Burrow not adding a Super Bowl MVP trophy as well.)

He would enter a room in which he'd be the only occupant. Not only would he become the first quarterback to win a Heisman, a natty, and a Super Bowl, he'd do in 26 months' time. He wouldn't just be a one of one, he'd be the only quarterback to pull off this feat, two months after turning 25. The Tom Brady comparisons would begin instantly, if they haven't already. 

Given where Burrow's going, it's worth revisiting where he came from. 

In 2018, he lost a quarterback battle to Dwayne Haskins. His first game at LSU saw him complete 45.8 percent of his passes and throw for 140 yards. In fact, Burrow threw for less than six yards per attempt four times in 2018, including a Nov. 3, 2018 game against Alabama in which he went 18-of-35 for 184 yards and an interception in a 29-0 loss to the Tide. 

The people who saw Burrow going from there to where he was a year later -- 393 yards on 10.1 per attempt, three touchdowns and no picks in a 46-41 win at Bryant-Denny Stadium -- could probably be counted on one hand, and maybe one finger. 

The lesson here is an unwavering belief in your talent, an insatiable work ethic, and an everlasting toughness to get up each time you're knocked down.

But that's not the only lesson, according to Burrow. Asked Monday for his advice for kids looking to become the next Joe Burrow, the first Joe Burrow said this:

"Focus less on media camps and stars and looking good in front of all the media at the camps that don't really mean anything to college coaches. Go to Ohio State's camp, go to LSU's camp, go to Cincinnati's camp. Focus on getting better.

"Don't have a workout and post it on Instagram the next day and then go sit on your butt for four days and everyone thinks you're working hard and you're really not. Work in silence. Don't show everybody what you're doing. Let your game on Friday nights and Saturday nights and Sunday nights show all the hard work that you've put in."

To be clear, this isn't the first time Burrow has shared this thought. Here he is in longer form before the draft in 2020. 

If you're a coach, these seems obvious. If you're a player... it can be revelatory. "Pics or it didn't happen" has evolved from an ironic message board reply to a way of life for some people.

The true irony here, though, is that we'll all see Burrow's money line -- "Work in silence" -- caption a workout post on Instagram, Twitter and/or TikTok before too long. You know it and I know it.

But, hey, at least some kids will listen. We just won't see it, because they'll be busy working. 

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