Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud put his faith first yet again after a historic win off the football field.
On Thursday, Stroud was named The Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year at the 2023 NFL Honors in Las Vegas, becoming the first Texans signal-caller to take home the trophy.
Despite the fact the team has indeed spent many a draft pick on the sport’s most important position — quarterback David Carr was the franchise’s first-ever pick at the No. 1 slot of the 2002 draft and was a bust — the 2023 No. 2 draft pick Stroud has blossomed into a leader on and off the field, with the statistics to go with it.
“Stroud, who garnered 48 of 50 first-place votes, took home 246 points from voters, ahead of Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Puka Nacua (154, two first-place votes) and Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (40),” NFL.com reported.
“Stroud didn’t play like a rookie, barely making mistakes and navigating a banged-up offensive line for parts of the season. Despite injuries to his blockers and receivers, the rookie just plugged along, dicing up defenses as if he were a 10-year pro,” the report said.
“The 22-year-old Stroud led the NFL with a 23-5 pass TD-INT ratio, the youngest player in NFL history to do so. He was the first rookie to lead the NFL in interception percentage (1.0) since Paul Governali with the 1946 [Boston] Yanks.”
He also was the first rookie QB to lead his team to a division title since the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott in 2016 and the only rookie in the modern NFL era, which began when the NFL and rival AFL merged in 1970, to lead a team from worst to first in its division.
In the playoffs, Stroud proved it wasn’t just a regular-season thing, dismantling a strong Cleveland Browns defense in a 45-14 wild-card victory before bowing out to the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens.
In his message Thursday night, the quarterback — who has been open about his Christian faith — talked about God at the top.
“First and foremost, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Stroud said.
He went on to thank his family and the organizations in both Houston and at Ohio State University, where he was a Heisman contender.
“This honor means a lot,” he concluded. “And to whatever kid is out here watching, you can do anything you put your mind to, man. I’m a living testimony to perseverance and just trust your goals and dreams. And I just thank God for this.”
Just the start ???? pic.twitter.com/ZqKjDmIUWp
— Houston Texans (@HoustonTexans) February 9, 2024
This isn’t the first time that Stroud has foregrounded God in his remarks. Consider his comments shortly after his team beat the Indianapolis Colts in the final week of the season to secure a playoff spot.
“It’s a blessing,” a visibly emotional Stroud said. “I can’t do nothing but thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, man.”
He then showed off the wristband he wears, which includes a cross, the words “To the Glory of God” and Proverbs 3:5-6, Stroud’s favorite Bible verse: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
CJ Stroud held back tears after the Texans playoff clinching win pic.twitter.com/bpzaYLLSr3
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) January 7, 2024
Meanwhile, he was similarly praiseful after the Texans’ win over the Browns in the playoffs.
“First and foremost, I just want to give all glory, praise my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ,” Stroud said.
“I mean, it’s been amazing, being in this city for as short as I’ve been, but the love I’ve got — I’ve really just been doing it for Houston, man … I’m blessed to be in the position that I am, blessed enough to be playing at a high level right now,” he continued. “And we’ve got to just keep it going. But I’m super blessed.”
CJ Stroud had one of the best playoff performances by a rookie QB in NFL history & then gave praise to his “Lord & Savior Jesus Christ” ???? pic.twitter.com/L11ySZhJiU
— Jon Root (@JonnyRoot_) January 14, 2024
You may be thinking, why is this all news? Well, in microcosm, consider how NBC clipped that interview it did with Stroud after the Browns game in which he gave glory to God first and foremost.
CJ Stroud has a lot of love for his city ❤️ pic.twitter.com/fZ4zFrcqWt
— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) January 14, 2024
Gosh, everything about God just magically disappeared. That doesn’t seem unintentional at all.
Whether or not we want to believe it, we Christians no longer live in a society that views our faith as positive or neutral. It’s considered a detriment, particularly if taken seriously; secular values, particularly when it comes to issues that fall anywhere under the realm of personal life choices, are considered a moral virtue, and putting any sort of Godly restraint on them is now vice.
It’s easy to be popular by spouting feel-good propaganda, especially in sports. God is out. For Stroud to praise the Lord with steadfastness and determination is an act of bravery.
Keep it up, young man — both on the field and off.
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