Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud showcased his faith during a post-game press conference after recording his first career win on Sunday (Sept. 24). During the game, Stroud threw for 280 yards and recorded two touchdown passes against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The 21-year-old rookie, who was the second overall NFL draft pick in April, had suffered two consecutive losses to start the season. Nevertheless, Stroud referred to the pressure to perform as a “privilege.”
“Pressure’s a privilege,” Stroud said. “A lot of people don’t get to live the life I do. It’s hard. Don’t get me wrong; it’s hard. But it’s a privilege, man.”
Stroud went on to expound upon his gratitude, which he directed toward God.
“I’m blessed enough to wake up every day and to walk, to talk, to smell, to interact with people, to play football,” he said. “These are all things we take for granted [on] a day-to-day basis, but I try to do my best to thank God for all that, because his grace, and his mercy—he laid his life on the cross for us, man. I really believe that.”
Stroud, who identifies himself as a “follower of Christ” in his social media bios, has had his faith refined by the crucible of adversity from a young age.
Born as the youngest of four children in Rancho Cucamonga, California, Stroud grew up in poverty. His father is currently serving a 38-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to charges of carjacking, kidnapping, robbery, and misdemeanor sexual battery in 2015.
Stroud has said that his father was his best friend prior to his father’s imprisonment and was the one who encouraged him to pursue sports. The elder Stroud began serving his sentence when C.J. was in middle school.
As a result, Stroud’s family struggled to make ends meet. Experiencing housing insecurity from his youth, Stroud spent his years attending Rancho Cucamonga High School while living in a small apartment above a storage facility.