Texans’ C.J. Stroud Sends Message Before Playoff Debut

CJ Stroud

C.J. Stroud led the Texans to the playoffs this season.

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud credited the team’s turnaround to someone beyond his teammates and coaches before his NFL playoff debut.

“It’s a blessing. I can’t do nothing but just thank my Lord and savior Jesus Christ,” Stroud told ESPN”s Lisa Salters after a Week 18 win to clinch the AFC South. “I’m just blessed enough to be the vessel that [Jesus] Christ picked to lead this great franchise. So I could do nothing but just thank the Lord.”

Stroud will lead the Texans at home against the Cleveland Browns in the Wild Card round on Saturday because he became a vessel to spark a turnaround in Houston. The Texans took the former Ohio State star the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he delivered.

He threw for 4,108 yards and 23 touchdowns in the process for the teams’ first division title since 2019. Stroud led the Texans out of a three-year quagmire of four wins or fewer per season.

Along the way, Stroud wears his faith on his sleeve, and his wrist band. He explained to Salters what he wrote on his wristband to remind him of his faith.

Stroud has a cross, the number “777”, a faith quote, and Proverbs 3:5-6 on the wristband. He literally wore his faith more on a Jesus t-shirt after the game during the postgame press conference.

“First of all, I just want to give all glory and praise to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” Stroud said on January 7. “Whew! That’s a good game. … To be my first season and make the playoffs, man, it’s just been a heck of a year. I’m blessed enough to be in this position for this great organization, this great city of Houston. I’m just blessed.”

Stroud also credited his mother, Kim, praying for him. He also listed off his family members and expressed his appreciation.

“When I look up and I see her praying, it just gives me a sense of comfort,” Stroud said. “I love my mom to death. She’s so supportive of me.”

C.J. Stroud: ‘No Difference’

While Stroud has been a leader in the locker room, he has taken advice from veteran players to heart, especially on  approaching the playoffs.

“They’ve said it’s no difference,” Stroud told reporters on Tuesday. “It’s just what you make it. For me, I think that’s one thing that I can appreciate is the honesty, just not blowing things up with them.”

“They’re always going to be honest with me and not tell me something’s bigger than what it is or lesser than what it’s going to be. It’s just football,” Stroud added.

“Just be yourself, is what they always tell me. I’ve played in playoff games before, big games. The less that you put pressure on yourself, I feel like the more you just execute and do your job. That’s when good things happen,” Stroud concluded.

Stroud of course had College Football Playoff experience from the year before in 2022. He and his Ohio State teammates came up a point shy against Georgia for the national semifinals.

C.J. Stroud: ‘I Can’t Wait’

Houston has been solid at home with a 6-3 record this season, and Stroud expects a great home field advantage on Saturday.

“I can’t wait to see NRG, how loud and excited the fans are going to be,” Stroud said. “I’m really excited to play in my first playoff game, of course. It’s been a goal of mine since I’ve been a kid. I’ve always watched it and things like you said. So, I’m really excited and just ready to roll.”