Former Ohio State Quarterback C.J. Stroud Wins PFWA’s Good Guy Award As NFL’s Most Media-Friendly Player

By Dan Hope on May 29, 2024 at 1:11 pm
C.J. Stroud
Thomas Shea – USA TODAY Sports

It took just one year for C.J. Stroud to establish himself as one of the NFL’s most media-friendly players.

The former Ohio State quarterback was named Wednesday as the winner of the Pro Football Writers of America’s Good Guy Award, which recognizes the NFL player who best helps pro football writers do their jobs, for the 2023 season.

Stroud won the award over fellow finalists Joel Bitonio (Cleveland Browns guard), Dion Dawkins (Buffalo Bills tackle), Brandon Graham (Philadelphia Eagles defensive end) and Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys quarterback).

“Stroud is the Good Guy Award winner because of his professionalism and openness with both the national and local media. He is always available during the week and after games, win or lose. He understands the media has a job to do and answers each question thoroughly,” PFWA Houston chapter co-vice president Jonathan Alexander said in a press release. “He is also active in the Houston community without seeking attention, recently volunteering to remove trees and clean up debris from yards in underserved communities after a storm left many residents without power for several days.”

Stroud, the first Houston Texans to win the award since it was first presented in 2005, was honored to receive the award.

“It’s a blessing to be recognized as the PFWA Good Guy Award winner, and it stands out to me because it’s more of an award that embodies someone’s character rather than the stats they compile on the field,” Stroud said in a statement. “I appreciate the job the media has and thank them for choosing me as someone who is deserving of this honor. A special shoutout to the other very deserving players who were nominated and those that won before me.”

Stroud drew praise throughout his rookie season with the Houston Texans for his thoughtful and eloquent answers during press conferences, in which Stroud – who was also one of the best quarterbacks on the field during the 2023 season, winning the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award – frequently demonstrated his football knowledge and ability to break down plays.

Stroud’s recognition for his professionalism with the media comes as no surprise to those who covered Stroud at Ohio State. During his two years as the Buckeyes’ starting quarterback, Stroud was a favorite among media members for his unusual candor in a position that often favors coachspeak.

In one of his most recent trips back to Columbus for Ohio State’s pro day, Stroud took the time to meet with local media more than an hour after the pro day had concluded and looked as comfortable as he had ever been fielding questions from Ohio State reporters inside the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. He said the biggest thing he learned about communicating with the media from his time at Ohio State is the importance of being himself rather than trying to craft the perfect answer to every question.

“I can sit up here and crack jokes with y'all and just be myself,” Stroud said during that interview session. “Early on (in my Ohio State career), you would try to like answer everything the right way or do it – like, man, whatever you're doing, I just try to be myself. So that's something that definitely prepared me from Ohio State to the NFL.”

Now entering his second season with the Texans, Stroud is already one of the faces of the NFL thanks to both his excellence on the field and his personality off the field, which has quickly made him a fan favorite in the league.

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