Sam Hubbard got a special opportunity in the NFL. The Cincinnati native got the chance to play college football at Ohio State and was selected by the Bengals in the 2018 Draft, allowing him to continue his career in his home state.

Now, Hubbard and his teammates are in Super Bowl LVI with a chance to win the big one. But he hasn’t forgotten one of the biggest factors in helping the defensive end develop into an NFL star.

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Speaking with reporters this week, Hubbard made it clear that he has a ton of respect and appreciation for his former defensive line coach Larry Johnson. The defensive end says he continues to stay in contact with his former position coach.

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“I texted Coach [Johnson] after last week. I spent the offseasons learning from him,” Hubbard said. “He took a high school safety and turned him into a starting defensive end in six months. I think he’s the best defensive line coach in the country. I owe him so much and I love him to death.”

Hubbard has played a major role for the Bengals defense this year. During the regular season, he piled up 62 tackles, 7.5 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries and a forced fumbles. In the playoffs, the defensive end has totaled 14 stops with 3 sacks.

Hubbard was a force while in Columbus and it’s translated well to the NFL. Now, he’s one win away from being a Super Bowl champion.