C.J. Stroud Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) throws the ball in the first quarter against Michigan State Spartans during their NCAA College football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio on November 20, 2021. Osu21msu Kwr 05

Every player has other players that inspire them and shape the way they play the game, and future first-round pick C.J. Stroud is no different. But unfortunately for him, two of the players he listed as inspirations during his NFL Combine press conference are quite a bit controversial.

During his press conference on Friday morning, Stroud listed Michael Vick, Deshaun Watson, and Joe Burrow as players he models his game after.

“Even one the reason why I wore No. 7 was because of Michael Vick. He inspired me not only to be athletic and use my athleticism but as a black quarterback to stay in the pocket and throw the ball – that’s something he was really underrated in,” Stroud said.

“I look up to Deshaun Watson and someone I feel I have a similar playing style to,” Stroud continued.

Obviously, those are two controversial figures in the NFL. Michael Vick spent 21 months in federal prison from 2007 to 2008 for his involvement in a dog fighting ring. Meanwhile, Deshaun Watson was suspended for most of the 2022 NFL season after he faced several sexual assault allegations by 25 different women.

As a result, the NFL world absolutely blasted Stroud for listing both of those players as inspirational players.

It’s worth noting that in context, Stroud was simply referring to their style of play and wasn’t necessarily condoning their off-the-field actions. But still, that’s not going to stop the criticism.

[Luke Sawhook]