NFL

Justin Herbert’s Softball Background Prepared Him for a Succesful NFL Debut

Of the quarterbacks with the best Week 2 performances, Justin Herbert’s presence was easily the most shocking.

Herbert would say the same thing if one asked him that. Learning only minutes before kickoff that he would start for the Chargers instead of Tyrod Taylor, Herbert took Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs to overtime.

Like Mahomes has done since debuting in 2017, Herbert showed a mix of poise and athleticism in the Los Angeles Chargers‘ home opener. Herbert’s background in various sports, including softball, may have been to thank.

Justin Herbert made a sudden NFL debut

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Justin Herbert was expected to sit behind veteran quarterback Tyrod Taylor indefinitely.

Instead, the sixth overall pick from April’s NFL draft was thrust into action when Taylor had to miss the game with chest pains. Herbert didn’t let the sudden promotion get in his way.

A dynamic gunslinger who will play this entire season at 22, Herbert completed 22 of his 33 passes (66.7%) for 311 yards, one touchdown, and an interception.

Herbert also averaged 4.5 yards per rush and scored a touchdown on four carries.

Los Angeles couldn’t hold off Mahomes and the Chiefs from making one of their trademark comebacks. Kansas City won, 23-20, in overtime to spoil the Chargers’ debut at SoFi Stadium.

Herbert sent an impressive message about his future

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Unfortunately for Justin Herbert, he opened his career with a loss that dropped the Chargers to 1-1 in an extremely competitive AFC West Division.

Still, there were plenty of positives to take away from Herbert’s NFL debut. Considering he found out minutes before kickoff that he would make his NFL debut, the way Herbert played against arguably the NFL’s top team speaks for itself.

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn already said Tyrod Taylor will start in Week 3 if he is healthy. Los Angeles hosts Christian McCaffrey and the Carolina Panthers, a team hoping to restart its season after an 0-2 start.

Lynn needed to say that, though, both to back Taylor and keep competition flowing in the Chargers’ locker room. Still, don’t be surprised to see Justin Herbert leading the Chargers onto the field in Week 3.

Justin Herbert’s softball background paid off, at least for one game

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Before Justin Herbert ever reached college, let alone the NFL, he was a talented baseball player who earned interest from MLB teams.

Baseball wasn’t the only sport Herbert played growing up. In an interview earlier this year with the Chargers’ official website, Herbert recalled playing softball growing up in Oregon.

Herbert said he won the regional softball toss at a track meet and participated at a national tournament in Hershey, Pa.

“It was really the first time I was so far away from my family. I went with a group of other athletes, so I wasn’t alone, but Pennsylvania is a long ways away from Oregon!”

Herbert’s athleticism certainly worked in his favor in Week 2. In the same way that Patrick Mahomes and other quarterbacks with baseball backgrounds have used their experience there to their advantage in the NFL, it will be interesting to see if Herbert does the same.

There is bad news for Justin Herbert, though. If Herbert enjoyed Pennsylvania, he’ll have to wait a bit before he plays there in the NFL.

Los Angeles plays at the Philadelphia Eagles in a to-be-determined date next year.

The Chargers don’t travel to Pittsburgh until 2024, barring a preseason or playoff game between both teams before then.

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