cj stroud
Houston Texans/YouTube

One of the NFL’s top rookie quarterbacks says he wants to use his talent to win games and spread the Gospel of Jesus. Houston’s C.J. Stroud won his first victory of his young pro career in a 27-17 win over Jacksonville, passing for 280 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Through three games, the Texans QB ranks fifth in the league in passing yards and fifth in completions.

Still, Stroud, who was drafted in the first round out of Ohio State, said football isn’t his only focus. During a recent news conference, Stroud said, “A lot of people don’t get to live the life I do. It’s hard – it’s hard, but it’s a privilege. And I’m blessed enough to wake up every day and to walk, to talk, to smell to, to interact with people, to play football. These are all things we take for granted from a day-to-day basis. But I try to do my best to thank God through all that because of His grace and His mercy.”

Stroud continued, “He laid His life on the cross for us – I really believe that. This is bigger than just a ball. And if I have to use football for my purpose to spread the gospel and the life of Jesus Christ, then I’ll do that. And I think that’s what God wants.” He added, smiling, “But at the same time, I want to win too.” The 6-foot-3 Stroud was one of the top quarterbacks in college, finishing third in Heisman voting as a senior while leading the Buckeyes to the College Football Playoff.

He was the second pick overall in the 2023 NFL draft. His 384 passing yards in week two are the most by an Ohio State QB in NFL history. His social media profile reads “follower of Christ.” Stroud credited God for his talent and added, “You have to meet Him halfway with your hard work.”

He said after his first NFL victory, “I think just those hard losses I took in college – the hard losses we took those two weeks (with Houston), the wins I’ve won –I know God has taught me what it takes to be successful in this game of football. And it’s a blessing. I’m blessed enough to have a team that will continue to fight, and it’s a blessing to have guys around you to do that.”

Despite the success, one of the first things Stroud emphasized was how he could’ve been better. “I still think I left a lot out on the field today,” Stroud said. “Could have played better in the red zone. For me, of course, I always want to snip that in the bud and get back to work.” Stroud’s teammate, Nico Collins, also highlighted Stroud’s work, saying, “Dude’s balling. It shows the work he’s putting in every single day. Film room, extra work, put in after practice. You can tell it shows up on prime time, and it’s only going to get better for him.”

Stroud’s name has been brought into the NFL MVP conversation, but Stroud only wants to talk about God. He explained, “For me, it’s a lot of prayer. A lot of knowing that God wouldn’t put anything on me that I can’t handle. I don’t deserve His grace and His mercy, but He still gives it to me, and I love Him for that. It’s not about me. It’s about Him and His glory. So I think that’s where it comes from. I think God made me like that.”

He continued, “I’ve been through a lot. Not only in football but things that made me kind of chill when everything is going crazy. And I thank God for putting that (in) me because that’s something that you need playing in this position — is lead. That defense over there didn’t blink even though they were giving up big plays. They knew it would come down to the wire — we knew that too.” Congratulations to C.J. Stroud!

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