CLEVELAND -- Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Cody Kessler has seized every chance to talk about his hometown of Bakersfield, California, since the Cleveland Browns selected him with a third-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.

That did not change leading up to Kessler’s first NFL start, a 30-24 overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium last Sunday, and the Bakersfield community has returned the favor.

“I had a lot of people from Bakersfield reach out to me, and they were just proud of me and everything. It was just cool to have that support,” Kessler said. “Like I told you guys before the game, I’m very proud of where I came from, and there are a lot of great people in Bakersfield.

“It was really cool to see all the pictures. They had watch parties and all these different things. To have that support and to continue to have that support from Bakersfield is something that really means a lot to me.”

In addition to all of the people who directly reached out to Kessler before and after his first NFL start, Bakersfield rented space on a billboard on Interstate 480 to wish the first-year quarterback good luck ahead of the game in Miami.

New @Browns starter @CodyKessler6 is a hometown hero. Bakersfield took out a Cleveland billboard to wish him good luck. #USCtotheNFL

— USC Trojans (@USC_Athletics) September 22, 2016

“I thought that was awesome,” Kessler said. “That meant a lot to me, and it was something that I didn’t know about. They didn’t tell me. No one told me anything. I actually saw a picture of it first. Someone sent it to me, and then, I ran over there and went and saw it afterwards. I’m very proud of where I came from and there are a lot of great people there that support me.”

And Kessler plans on giving the people of Bakersfield something to cheer about against Washington on Sunday.

“It is a great place,” Kessler said. “You have to go there first to really experience it. It is just awesome. It kind of molds you to who you become as a person. My dad and my mom both worked really hard and I learned from them.

“I got to watch my dad really coach me in football and did not know a whole lot about quarterback, but did everything he could to help me out and get me to different camps and stuff. I take a lot of pride in coming from Bakersfield.”