Mina Kimes, NFL Analyst for ESPN, took a trip to Oregon to get to know the Bolts' second year QB. Click here to read the full piece. Here are the top six excerpts from the article:
If you go grocery shopping with Herbert, you better put the cart back
"Herbert's teammates say they quickly learned that their new roommate was a something of a neat freak, with meticulous handwriting, a color-coordinated closet and a thinly veiled distaste for any sort of mess. Nabers says he has seen Herbert's temper flare up only once, when Nabers tried to abandon his grocery store cart in the parking lot. "The first time we went shopping, I was like, 'Eh, I'll leave it right here,'" he says, pantomiming a gentle push. "And he said: 'No. Take it all the way back.'"
Whether it's playing on Sundays or Settlers of Catan, Herbert is there to win
"His teammates describe him as a homebody, more keen on watching movies -- he loves Christopher Nolan films, especially "Inception" and "Interstellar" -- and playing board games than going out. During camp last year, when the rookies were quarantined together in a hotel, he insisted on buying a copy of Settlers of Catan, the Risk-like strategy game where players gather resources to accrue territory, for the group. Gabe Nabers, the team's fullback, says they played nearly every night. "He loves that game," says Nabers. "He'll do anything to win."
Take a look at some of the best shots of Justin Herbert at Chargers Training Camp 2021
It's the simple things in life, especially when it comes to a haircut
"Herbert stabs his pancakes with a fork. "So John Lott, our strength and conditioning coach ... he said, 'I cut my son's hair all the time.' I was like 'Sweet, you can cut mine.'" He shoves a bite into his mouth. "He cut it in the weight room, and ... that's kind of it."
But why would you let your strength and conditioning coach ...
He shrugs. "I just didn't really want to pay for a haircut, to be honest."
Offensive Rookie of the Year, $27 million contract, face of a newly relevant franchise. And yet.
Herbert's hair has grown back, but he still looks younger than his 23 years, hunching over his plate like the biggest kid at school. He's dressed in a T-shirt and shorts that were probably sent to him by Nike; he drives an Audi sedan that was definitely a gift from an auto dealership here in Eugene (he drove it more than 13 hours from Los Angeles). Later, when I point out a Whole Foods from the car, he says he doesn't shop at the grocery store because it's too expensive. "It's just calories," he explains.
From imaginary huddles in the offseason to his unexpected first NFL drive, Herbert seems to be born ready for the moment
"The first drive was a blur. Because the pandemic had abbreviated the NFL's offseason program and eliminated the preseason altogether, Herbert, who operated exclusively out of the gun at Oregon, was unusually green. He spent part of the summer in Eugene calling plays in an imaginary huddle, his brothers Patrick and Mitchell radioing in messages using a walkie-talkie. Now he was lining up in SoFi Stadium, with the Chiefs' defense bearing down on him like homesteaders descending on untouched land. His teammates were awestruck. [Easton Stick], the Chargers' third-string quarterback, recalls watching Herbert flip his protection early in the series and go through his progressions before checking down to running back Joshua Kelley for a 35-yard gain. "He had probably never done that a single time in training camp," Stick says.
The biology major has impressed in the film room
"As Herbert's Chargers teammates pass through, I pull them to the side, looking for insights. "He's like a sponge in the building -- eats everything up, absorbs so much info, wants to know the playbook more than anything. I mean, he's a biology major," says Scott Quessenberry, a backup guard. Herbert sidles up to us, and Quessenberry gestures in his direction. "He's like: 'Do you know the lifespan of organisms in the ocean?'"
"I've never said that," says Herbert."
While he naturally shy's away from the spotlight, a couple of big teammates find an effective way to get Herbert out of his comfort zone
"We find a table and watch as a small crowd gathers around a makeshift stage, where a hired performer is playing covers of wedding songs. The singer strums the opening bars of "Sweet Caroline," then stops and calls for Herbert to join him. The quarterback shakes his head, but the guy won't take no for an answer, so Herbert trudges up the steps, where he's flanked by a couple of his offensive linemen. Before long, all of the Chargers still at the event have joined them; one of the linemen is belting out the chorus, the kicker is swaying with his eyes closed, and Allen is dancing with somebody's mom. A minute or so into the song, I spot Herbert fading into the background, then trying to slip into the crowd. So do his teammates, who pull him back on stage."
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