For C.J. Stroud, it's time to rest.
The season is finished for the Texans, and **they spent Monday with final meetings, locker cleanouts and other administrative tasks to close out the season**.
The quarterback on Saturday capped off a whirlwind year-and-a-half. In between the summer of 2022 and now, Stroud's vigorously prepared for a final college season, got set for the NFL Draft process, and then come to Houston and helped engineer a 180-degree turn in wins and culture mindset with the Texans.
"First, I'm going to relax," Stroud said. "Take some time off. I've been going hard since I was like 12 years old. AAU tournaments, baseball, football, 7-on-7, high school, a ton of sports being played. It's been a blessing. It's been a ball. I'm 22 years old, and this is my first time ever having freedom away from school, away from college. So I'm excited. But at the same time, just like I'm ready to relax, I'm ready to get back to work, too. But I have to take some time to myself. It's just the right thing to do."
Quarterback Case Keenum, who just completed his 12th NFL season, said a mental "recharge" and unwinding a bit is of the utmost importance. Especially in regards to the gauntlet Stroud just completed over the last 18 months or so.
"Your rookie year is really, really tough, because coming from that offseason workout--for me it was at Houston, but it was Ohio State for him. Obviously the ups and downs, big season for him. Then you get straight into training for the Combine. Then train for your Pro Day. Then your Draft comes and it's like, 'Okay, here's this playbook' and it's massive, and you're like, 'Oh my gosh.' So you have to learn all that in OTAs and rookie minicamp. You get a couple weeks in the summer and then it's the longest season of your life. To go in the playoffs and do what he did, it's impressive."
But once the rest and relaxation period ends, Keenum has no doubts about the new highs on the way for Stroud and the Texans.
"He's preparing to start an era here," Keenum said. "I truly believe that's what it's going to be around here. Houston fans have an incredible amount of really awesome quarterback play to look forward to for the foreseeable future."
Wide receiver Tank Dell caught 47 passes for 709 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games with Stroud this season. Dell finished three games—all Texans victories—with 100 or more receiving yards, and he thinks Saturday's playoff loss at Baltimore "motivated C.J. tremendously".
"I know in the offseason the work he's going to put in, the work everyone is going to put in together," Dell said. But I just know what type of guy he is. You know he's going to come back even hungrier."
Stroud and the Texans will re-convene as a team in mid-April for the start of the Offseason Conditioning Program.