‘I’m not going to let somebody just come push me’

Houston Texans rookie C.J. Stroud made clear Sunday he is not backing down from a fight no matter who gets into his grill during a game, and he showed that against the Denver Broncos.

The Texans were driving in the first quarter and were near the goal line with a critical 4th-and-2. Stroud took the snap, but the play was blown dead. However, Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton got into Stroud’s face, and the two started pushing back and forth.

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CJ Stroud tackled

Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton, #49, sacks Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, #7, in the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

Singleton was called for unnecessary roughness and gave Houston a new set of downs. Dameon Pierce finished the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run.

“I’m a man, and I’m not going to let somebody just come push me, especially in my house,” Stroud said. “You’re not going to just touch me after the whistle. You clearly hear it. I’m not mad at that dude. He played hard. He maybe tried to – but I didn’t like it, and I’ve got to control my composure.”

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CJ Stroud looks down field

Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, #7, looks for an open receiver during the first quarter against the Denver Broncos at NRG Stadium in Houston Dec. 3, 2023. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

The quarterback added that he was going to “stand on my business” but knows at those moments, he has to keep calm.

“I feel like I have throughout the year,” Stroud continued. “Time and time again, I keep getting hit, I keep getting my face mask pulled, all type of stuff. I’m not mad. I guess I’ve got to earn it because I’m a rookie or whatever. I don’t get a lot of calls and I’ve got to stand on business and understand, it’s a fight for 60 minutes with me. 

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“You ain’t going to come hit me, and I’m going to tuck my tail. I’m not mad at that dude. I talked to him after the game, and everything is all right.”

Alex Singleton celebrates

Denver Broncos linebacker Alex Singleton, #49, celebrates after a sack of Houston Texans quarterback C.J. Stroud, #7, during the fourth quarter at NRG Stadium in Houston on Dec. 3, 2023. (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)

Singleton did not have much to say about the play after the game. He said that regardless of whether he was pushed by Texans lineman Shaq Mason, the penalty was going to favor the quarterback.

“You know how this league is,” he said.

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Houston won the game 22-17.

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