Texans rookie QB C.J. Stroud aims to 'use football for my purpose — to spread the Gospel'

Nobody would’ve guessed C.J. Stroud was battling a shoulder injury based on his performance Sunday. The Houston Texans rookie quarterback completed 30 of his 47 passes for 384 yards (the most for any QB in Week 2), two touchdowns and zero interceptions in his team’s 31-20 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.

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In just the second game of his pro career, the No. 2 overall pick from the 2023 draft threw for the second-most yards ever by a player under the age of 22, the second-most yards by a Texans rookie, and the most yards by an Ohio State quarterback. He was fourth in the NFL in passing yards (626) through the opening two weeks of the season.

Despite his team’s 0-2 start, Stroud is confident the Texans are headed in the right direction under new head coach DeMeco Ryans.

“I think there’s light at the end of the tunnel,” he said after Sunday’s game. “… I think we showed that today, that we’re going to fight and we’re not just going to turn around and lay down just because the score flips early. We’re going to keep fighting to the end.”

While Stroud is determined to turn the Texans into one of the NFL’s top teams, he says his ultimate goal is to use football to bring people to the Lord. And he used his time with the media on Sunday to exhibit that. He started his postgame press conference by pointing to the faith that has sustained him throughout his journey.

“First and foremost, I want to give all glory and praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he said. “Had a hard week, man, just trying to fight my tail off just to be able to play because my shoulder was hurting me. But at the end of the day, I wanted to be out there for my guys. I wanted to play.”

Later on in the press conference, the 21-year-old explained why he doesn’t need sympathy from anyone and what he believes his mission ultimately is. Stroud developed a strong relationship with Christ after his father, who was a pastor, was arrested in 2015. He did not have a privileged upbringing like some other elite quarterbacks, but he was always confident in God’s plan for him.

“I don’t want anybody to feel bad for me, but the odds have been stacked against me since I’ve been a kid,” Stroud said. “And I think God has put a special plan in my life, and I think that He’s not done with me yet. … I have a lot more, not even just football, but a lot more life to live to give to people.”

Stroud describes himself as a “Follower of Christ” in his X (formerly Twitter) and Instagram bios. He views his platform as a blessing as well as a challenge, and has regularly used it to share his faith and glorify God.


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“A lot of people don’t get to live the life I do,” he said in the press conference. “It’s hard, don’t get me wrong. It’s hard, but it’s a privilege, man. I’m blessed enough to wake up every day — to walk, to talk, to smell, 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.

“He laid His life on the cross for us. I really believe that. This is bigger than just 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.”

The Texans travel to face the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.

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