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Getting to Know Rookie Tight End Brenton Strange

0804 Meet Rookie Strange

JACKSONVILLE – Since Head Coach Doug Pederson arrived in Jacksonville there has been much discussion about his affinity for the tight end position. After meeting rookie Brenton Strange, I understand why he likes this tight end in particular. The second-round selection in the 2023 NFL Draft has a tantalizing blend of size, speed and aggression. He loves roaming the middle of the field – and the challenge of taking his successful college career and converting it to the professional game. Strange was just off the practice field and fresh from an autograph session with 100 or so fans after a hot, sticky morning on the Miller Electric Center fields. We talked for maybe 20 seconds before I realized this young man was going to become a go-to guy in the locker room.

Question: How has the college-to-NFL transition been for you so far?

  • Answer: I'm not going to say it has been easy, but it has been really good. Penn State prepared me every way from off the field to on the field. I'm thankful for all the lessons I learned there, and it has me ready and prepared for today.

Q: Did you know the scenario you were walking into in Jacksonville with a rising team, a franchise quarterback and an offense that was ready to take the next step?

  • A: I definitely knew that and that's what made me so excited. This team has a ton of great young talent, and I love that it has great players at the tight end position, too. Evan [Engram]'s obviously an established veteran player in this league who's been doing it for a really long time and he's coming off a big year and that new contract. So, I knew he was going to be here, and I was very excited to come in and learn from him. He's been everything I hoped he would be and is helping me get up to speed. I also had a previous connection with Luke Farrell when he was at Ohio State. I would go up to Ohio State and he would host me. I was just excited to come in here and get to learn from the guys and just soak up the information from everyone.

Q: There's two kinds of players when it comes to professional football. The first is the player who senses the pressure to compete at a high level and perform, and he either embraces it or shrinks from it. The second is the guy who isn't fazed by the pressure because the pressure he places on himself is greater than anything his teammates or media or fanbase can assign. Which one are you?

  • A: I definitely put the pressure on myself to be the best. I created a standard for myself, and I intend to play up to that standard for myself and for my family. I really don't recognize it as pressure. It's just football and I've played this game all my life. I know if I just go out there and just be me and put the work in every day, in every drill and with every rep, I will be the player I intend to be. I don't let pressure affect me or my performance. Pressure's not something that comes up in my mind, but I have a standard for myself on how I should play, how I should operate on and off the field. That standard's very high.

Q: When you were a student athlete at Penn State, you had to balance academics and athletics. As of now, you only have to worry about football. How has that transition been for you?

  • A: Really, really good. There's still plenty of studying but the subject is football and we're tested every day out here on the practice fields. But there isn't any stress about getting to class early on a Monday or having a deadline of homework or a paper to write or that you have to do, go to study hall. I'm really enjoying the current situation because I have the opportunity to focus on getting my body ready and my nutrition and then to focus on the plays. Anything else you need to do off the field in order to prepare yourself.

Q: Is there a coach, or a mentor, or a parent, who you think has given you something that helps you at this level? Someone that you would say really helped you get to where you're at?

  • A: I had a lot of good high school and college coaches, but I wouldn't say it would be one of those coaches. My mom had me when she was 16 years old, and she made a lot of sacrifices for me to get in the position that I am in today. Whenever I feel tired, whenever I feel stressed or there is something that is holding me back mentally or physically, I just start to think about her and what she was willing to do for me. Anything I have to do as a football player I can do because my mom taught me that sacrifice is part of life and anything worth having is worth working for. You could say that she was mom and mentor and is a big reason why I have a chance to play in the NFL.

Q: Are you sharing this with her and is she enjoying the opportunity to be a part of the NFL?

  • A: She's definitely enjoying the opportunity. She hasn't had the chance to come down to Jacksonville yet, so I'm really excited for that. She's just so happy for me, because she knows of all the hard work that I put in to get here and to have this opportunity to chase my dream. I want to make my mom and my whole family proud.

Q: Where's your gratitude level for where you are right now and all the people that helped you to get here and the opportunity in Jacksonville?

  • A: I'm very grateful. I'm blessed. This is God's work, man. I wouldn't be here without my family, God –God, first. There are great people in this organization who make it fun to come in here every day and get the opportunity to play football, and great players that you can come in here and learn from and play with. I'm love being in Jacksonville.

Q: Are you a beach guy? Do you think you'll enjoy playing football and living in Florida?

  • A: Maybe some in the offseason, but I think after practice I'll just stay inside.

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