Press file photo

Former Freedom High football star Joe Mixon, seen here during his high school playing days, recently signed a four-year contract extension with the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals.

Former Freedom High football star Joe Mixon, now a running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, recently received a big payday for his hard work.

The 2014 Falcon graduate and former University of Oklahoma star signed a four-year contract extension through the 2024 season.

The team has not disclosed the financial terms of the deal, but NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that it was worth $48 million.

“It was just like a dream come true being able to sign my second contract,” Mixon said during a press conference broadcasted on the team’s website. “It feels like I am a rookie again, so just that happy feeling and being part of something special that we have in the making is going to be great. I am definitely going to be excited for it.”

Mixon has elevated himself into one of the NFL’s most prolific running backs since entering the league in 2017.

He’s amassed 693 carries for 2,931 yards and 17 touchdowns in 44 career NFL games, including 35 starts. He’s also hauled in 108 catches for 870 yards and four receiving touchdowns.

He’s rushed for over 1,000 yards each of the last two seasons, leading the American Football Conference in rushing in 2018 with 237 carries for 1,168 yards and eight touchdowns.

Also, his consistency shines, as he’s tallied nine 100-yards games and 16 games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.

“We are excited that we got this done with Joe,” said Bengals head coach Zac Taylor in a news release. “He has been a valuable weapon for our offense and team. Joe provides great energy not only on the field but in the building as well, and we are ready to move forward as we prepare for the Chargers.”

Mixon’s professional success follows after a blistering high school and college career.

Mixon lit up the field as a member of the Freedom Falcon’s football team, rushing the ball 598 times for 4,281 yards and 57 touchdowns in three seasons, in addition to pulling in 37 receptions for 682 yards and 10 touchdowns.

He was named the nation’s top all-purpose high school running back in 2014, receiving about 50 Division 1 college scholarship offers before settling on the University of Oklahoma.

There, he continued to flourish in two seasons on the field with the Sooners, carrying the ball 300 times for 2,027 yards and 17 touchdowns, in addition to 65 receptions for 894 yards and nine touchdowns — ranking third all-time in career receiving yards and fourth all-time in career receptions at Oklahoma.

Mixon declared for the 2017 NFL draft after two college seasons. The Bengals drafted him with the 48th overall pick, where he continues to flourish.

“It’s a blessing to be in this here position,” Mixon said. “I am definitely thankful for it.”