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Former Bison OL Volson relished giving away game ball in Cincinnati bar

The former NDSU offensive lineman has started every game for the Bengals, who are one victory away from the Super Bowl.

NFL: AFC Divisional Round-Cincinnati Bengals at Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) carries the ball behind Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Cordell Volson (67) in the second quarter during an AFC divisional round game at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
Kareem Elgazzar / USA TODAY Sports

FARGO — The Cincinnati Bengals posted a video of the team’s postgame locker room where head coach Zac Taylor was handing out game balls after last Sunday’s decisive road victory in the NFL Division Round playoffs.

Taylor tossed one of the game balls to running back Joe Mixon, who had a stellar performance, but he quickly flipped the football to rookie offensive lineman Cordell Volson.

“It was great,” said Volson, a former North Dakota State offensive lineman. “Joe is so good to us so it definitely wasn’t unexpected. He deserves the game ball just as much as any of us.”

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Volson and the Bengals will play at the Kansas City Chiefs at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29, after Cincinnati’s 27-10 win against Buffalo.

Volson’s final game with NDSU was a 38-10 victory against Montana State on Jan. 8, 2022, in Frisco, Texas, for the 2021 Division I FCS national championship. Volson and now the Bengals are one victory away from playing in the Super Bowl a little more than one year later.


“It’s a dream come true,” Volson said. “We’re not finished yet, but some of it is really surreal and something that I’m going to enjoy. I’m really excited for this opportunity.”

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at New England Patriots
Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Cordell Volson (67) blocks New England Patriots defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale (95) during the first half at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.
Eric Canha / USA TODAY Sports

The Bengals racked up 412 yards and 30 first downs in the victory against Buffalo, even though Cincinnati was down three starters on the offensive line. Volson — who plays left guard — and center Ted Karras were the only two usual starters along the offensive line for the Bengals due to injury.

“We had all the confidence in the world with everyone that was out there on Sunday and I was really happy to be a part of that,” said Volson, who has started all 19 games for the Bengals this season.

Volson also relished a chance to compete against the Bills on a snowy day in Orchard Park, N.Y.

“You see all these games in Buffalo and all the snow they get in Buffalo and to go there and play in it in a hostile environment in such a big game with so much on the line, it was a really neat experience,” Volson said.

Under Taylor, the Bengals have started a tradition of gifting postseason game balls to Cincinnati-area businesses. Volson and Karras delivered a game ball to The Oak Tavern on Sunday night after the team returned from Buffalo.

There are various videos on social media showing Karras and Volson getting a warm reception from fans as they entered The Oak Tavern.

“It was really cool,” said Volson, from Balfour, N.D. “We went in and they were all doing the ‘Who Dey’ chant and stuff. It’s great for the city. I know they all enjoy it and we do, as well. It was a great time and it shows all the support that the city of Cincinnati has for us.”


Volson said the support the Bengals have around Cincinnati is similar to the support he felt during his Bison career.

“Cincinnati has some of that feel of Fargo, too, a really supportive fan base, great community,” Volson said. “The energy is great around the city. It’s great to be a part of.”

Volson was recently named to the Sports Info Solutions All-Rookie first team at guard. He’s helped protect Bengals star quarterback Joe Burrow and open holes for the Bengals running game all season long, winning the starting job out of training camp. Volson said Burrow makes his job easier.

“He’s such a great person,” Volson said. “He’s a great leader, he’s an elite competitor. He’s easy to play with, somebody that you’re going to scratch and claw and do whatever it takes because if you give him the opportunity he’s going to make all the plays.”

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Burrow went to first and second grade in Fargo in 2003 and 2004 while his father Jimmy Burrow was the defensive coordinator at NDSU.

“We’ve talked about it a few times, I’ve talked about it with his parents, as well,” Volson said. “It’s pretty neat that we have (those) same ties together.”

Volson credited Karras, right guard Alex Cappa and left tackle Jonah Williams in helping him have a successful rookie season.

“They’ve been huge, they’ve been very influential in my short time here,” Volson said. “Guys that I love to be around and continually just pushing to be better and have a ton of confidence with me. … I think that the most important thing, believing in the guy next to you and giving guys next to you reason to believe in you.”


Volson has given his teammates reason to have confidence in him with his performance.

“I think every single week I feel more comfortable,” Volson said. “It’s finding ways to improve and to feel more comfortable every single snap and every single game.”

Peterson covers college athletics for The Forum, including Concordia College and Minnesota State Moorhead. He also covers the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks independent baseball team and helps out with North Dakota State football coverage. Peterson has been working at the newspaper since 1996.
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