Justin Herbert’s parents write heartfelt sendoff letter to their son

Justin Herbert’s parents write heartfelt sendoff letter to their son

His entire life, Justin Herbert has only ever known the game of football in Oregon. 

The Eugene-native played for Sheldon High School before getting an offer and committing to pursue an academic and athletic career four miles down the road at the University of Oregon. 

The hometown hero took over the reigns as a freshman in 2016, and the rest is history. Herbert’s talent and leadership brought Oregon back to national relevance, from a 4-8 season in 2016 to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory in 2020.

Now, he is taking the next step in this football career, 857 miles south to Los Angeles, California.

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest former Oregon men’s basketball head coach Ernie Kent].

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers were meant to be

For the first time, Justin Herbert will be living and playing football away from Eugene.

A proper sendoff was needed. Herbert’s parents offered their son life advice in this Twitter video from the Chargers.

“Dear Justin, 

As you begin this new chapter, the chapter you have dreamed about and worked hard for, we just want you to know how proud we are of you…”

For those who have been following Herbert’s career, you probably already know that Herbert has a strong head on his broad shoulders. A solid student in the classroom, a family-oriented mindset and leader on the football field. 

Herbert’s dad was Justin’s coach for part of his life.

When he coached, we lived by four rules: Never give up; Do your best; Always get better; and treat people the way you want to be treated. — Justin Herbert

Watch more on Herbert’s family influence throughout his football career in our interview with him the summer before his senior year on Talkin’ Ducks.

Be sure to download and listen for free Sports Uncovered: The uniform craze that revolutionized college football

Justin Herbert among Ducks, Beavers on new season of Hard Knocks

Justin Herbert among Ducks, Beavers on new season of Hard Knocks

We knew Justin Herbert would be featured, tested and scrutinized in Hollywood in his first NFL season, now it turns out his rookie year as Chargers signal caller will also be caught on camera. 

The NFL announced Thursday that Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers, as well as the Los Angeles Rams, will be featured on the upcoming season of NFL Films and HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” The five-episode season premiere is set on August 11.

[Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Paul Swangard, the voice of Hayward Field]

Other Pro Ducks that may get some screen time include Troy Hill and Johnny Mundt, as well as former Oregon State Beavers standout punter Johnny Hekker, who all play for the L.A. Rams. 

This season will be unlike any Hard Knocks we’ve seen before. There have been challenges for NFL teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including virtual OTAs. The docuseries will likely show some innovative ways coaches Sean McVay and Anthony Lynn handle the unprecedented offseason.

Having been part of Hard Knocks before when I was with the New York Jets, my biggest takeaway from that whole experience was that you get out of it what you put into it. There's a reason that season was probably the most popular Hard Knocks ever. If you're going to do a show, do it right. You can't fake it. We didn't have a problem providing access because we built a relationship with the crew. There was a mutual trust that exists to this day with those people, and many of them will actually be working on this year's show. Broadcasting your internal business all over the world isn't something you regularly want to do, but in a year with as many challenges as this one has had, I'm glad we can be part of bringing football back to the fans this summer. -- Chargers coach Anthony Lynn

Both the Chargers and Rams are preparing to play at the new $5 billion SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. 

It’ll be hard to top Oakland’s Antonio Brown drama on Hard Knocks in 2019, but watching former Duck Herbert and veteran Tyrod Taylor compete for the Chargers starting spot will be quite the showdown. Add polarizing quarterback Colin Kaepernick into the mix and this is must-see TV. 

Listen and subscribe to “Sports Uncovered” for free wherever you listen to podcasts.

Justin Herbert’s odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year

Justin Herbert’s odds to win Offensive Rookie of the Year

With the sixth overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the LA Chargers selected Oregon Ducks quarterback, Justin Herbert.  

Days following the draft, Chargers fans had mixed feelings about their team drafting Herbert, but as of late, it seems that most fans have bought into Herbert being the future.

Despite the former Oregon Ducks QB likely not seeing much playing time, if any at all, during the 2020 season with nine-year veteran Tyrod Taylor appearing to be the starting quarterback, Herbert is still a sleeper to earn the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow is the favorite to win the honor.

Burrow’s odds are listed at +240 at MGM. If the former LSU quarterback wins the award, it will be the second straight year that the first overall pick is the Offensive Rookie of the Year. Last season, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray earned the honor.

The next-best odds belong to the last pick of the first round, Chiefs running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who is listed at +600. Followed by Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa at +900, while Herbert is at +2000. Packers quarterback Jordan Love and Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts are both at +8000.

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers were meant to be

Draft Kings released the odds for the winner of the 2020 Offensive Rookie of the Year Award just days after the 2020 NFL Draft. They also listed Herbert as a dark horse pick at +1600.

With Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn high on Taylor at the moment that will allow Herbert a year to grow into a starting quarterback while also providing the primary competition in training camp.

[RELATED]: Betting odds of Justin Herbert being LA Chargers' starter Week One

At the NFL Combine, the 6'6", 237 pound Herbert showed off his athleticism with a 40 yard dash time of 4.68 seconds (3rd among QBs), a vertical jump of 35.5 inches (tied for 2nd among QBs), broad jump of 123 inches (3rd among QBs), 3 cone drill of 7.06 seconds (1st among QBs), and a 20-yard shuttle of 4.46 seconds (4th among QBs).

But, as one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Chargers may have to take a chance on the young QB this season just as the betting world might as well.

Be sure to check out the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Oregon Strength & Conditioning Coach Aaron Feld.

Justin Herbert, NFL rookies deliver hat stunt in Zoom call

Justin Herbert, NFL rookies deliver hat stunt in Zoom call

NFL rookies may have not gotten the opportunity to walk on stage during the 2020 NFL Draft and put on their team’s hat for the first time, but that didn’t stop them from having a moment. 

In a Zoom call released on Sunday by the NFL's Twitter account, 20 rookies took turns handing off and sporting their team’s hats in a viral video. The Brady Bunch-esque clip included first-year quarterbacks like Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and of course, former Oregon Football stud Justin Herbert. 

You can spot Herbert in one of the Zoom chat boxes in the right corner. He receives the cap from Tagovailoa, and then strikes a pose with his Los Angeles Chargers draft hat. 

Not bad for a rookie. 

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, players and their families took part in the draft remotely on their couches.

The act of practicing with their new teams for the first time has also been altered. Rather than participate in organized team activities and minicamps, players are physical distancing in a virtual offseason program which includes classroom instruction, workouts and non-football educational programs. 

On Monday, Herbert and his fellow rookies will begin a seven-week rookie football development program, which consists of one extra hour of instruction per day. 

Herbert detailed his online sessions with the Chargers in a recent Zoom call with reporters. He said he’s been challenging himself to get to know his new teammates, including targets Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry, who he intends to begin workouts with in the coming weeks.  

You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

Justin Herbert immersing himself in Chargers playbook at minicamp 

Justin Herbert immersing himself in Chargers playbook at minicamp 

While Justin Herbert hasn’t had the opportunity to get out in the sun with his Los Angeles Chargers teammates just yet, he’s already soaking up the team’s playbook. 

In a Zoom call with reporters this weekend, the Chargers top pick said he’s getting the most out of his online sessions and immersing himself in the playbook during virtual meetings with offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and QBs coach Pep Hamilton. 

''Reading it and doing it are different,” Herbert said. “I take pride in my preparation. This type of learning I feel comfortable with, being able to pick up as much as I can. I’ve always taken pride in whether it’s schoolwork or in the classroom. This type of learning situation I feel comfortable with. I’m going to do my best to pick up as much as I can in this situation. 

“When that time comes when we go out on the field, I know that I’ll be ready.”

The rookie quarterback says the Chargers offensive playbook draws similarities to the one he learned at Oregon. 

“There are a lot of things and there’s a lot more formations and protections,” Herbert said. “It’s much more complex than what we had (at Oregon) so I’m going to do everything I can to learn it as quickly as I can.”

Herbert has also challenged himself in getting to know his Chargers teammates, many of who are outside the quarterback room. He is embracing the opportunity to build chemistry with them, whether that’s lifting weights with the offensive lineman or throwing with the wide receivers. 

''You have to find a way to introduce yourself, whether it is lifting or throwing. I changed my lifting group so I could work out with some of the offensive linemen,'' Herbert said. 

Over the next few weeks, Herbert said he will begin throwing to his top two targets, Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. Herbert mentioned that Henry was the first Chargers player to reach out to him when he was selected. 

The pre-training camp workouts will certainly aid Herbert and his Chargers squad in having an advantage when players finally are able to take the field together. At Oregon, the Eugene native helped escalate the Ducks’ football program from four wins in 2016 to a 12-win season in 2019, which included a Pac-12 Championship and a Rose Bowl victory during his senior year. 

Now in the NFL, Herbert will look to do revitalize the Chargers, who finished 5-11-0 and fourth in the AFC West last season. It will be a daunting task for Herbert, as he has already been taskted to develop a new line of thinking given this new reality the NFL is facing.  

You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Ducks Podcast here.

NFL Combine, Senior Bowl big factors in the Chargers selecting Justin Herbert

NFL Combine, Senior Bowl big factors in the Chargers selecting Justin Herbert

There is no shortage of hard work and dedication when it comes to Justin Herbert.

During this time of quarantine, Herbert has continued to find ways to stay in shape, throw the football, watch film, everything he needs to do to stay prepared for anything, and that’s exactly what the Los Angeles Chargers saw in the Oregon football prodigy.

It just so happens that Herbert lives with two receivers, his brothers Mitchell (played wide receiver at Montana State University) and Patrick (current tight end at the University of Oregon). 

Herbert’s work ethic in the shadows came to fruition his freshman year at Oregon: was once listed on the quarterback depth chart behind Montana State grad transfer Dakota Prukop, Travis Jonsen and Terry Wilson (now the starter at Kentucky) and then went on to carry the Ducks from a 4-8 season to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. 

Herbert and the Chargers were just meant to be. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert will be a Charger, says 9-year-old Justin Herbert

Here’s what Los Angeles saw in the four-year, hometown hero:

They are excited to have me and they wanted me to develop and grow with them. That I didn’t shy away from anything this offseason. I didn’t shy away from the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine, things like that. They really appreciated that. They were just excited for an opportunity to grow with me and I’m really looking forward to do it with them. — Justin Herbert

Not only did Herbert not shy away from these opportunities, but he excelled in them. The Senior Bowl and NFL Combine are more opportunities to showcase your skill as an NFL prospect. For someone like Herbert who didn’t have social media until just recently, you have to display your talent in numerous ways especially in this evolving, technology-driven world we live in today.

One argument for not participating in postseason games is the risk of injury, which makes sense. For being so close to the NFL Draft and starting your NFL career, it is definitely a risk for sure. But some players need that extra opportunity. 

Herbert was able to show off his cannon for an arm and leadership abilities that resulted in a Senior Bowl MVP. He then shined weeks later at the NFL Combine.

And now has found a new home in Los Angeles, an equally perfect match for both parties.

Be sure to listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert here.

It wasn't the Bellagio fountains, but Justin Herbert thankful for his car parade on draft night

It wasn't the Bellagio fountains, but Justin Herbert thankful for his car parade on draft night

What do you do when your hometown hero is drafted No. 6 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft during a worldwide pandemic?

You hold a car parade of course. 

That is exactly what the Oregon football coaching staff did Thursday night on the opening night of the NFL Draft as the Eugene, Oregon community was anxiously waiting to hear quarterback Justin Herbert’s name be taken off the boards.

I had probably two hours of media right after the draft and so they were waiting outside for about 2 hours. The real ones stuck around. — Justin Herbert

Under normal circumstances, Herbert would have been the sixth player to hop on a boat and be driven out to a floating stage on the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was supposed to be surrounded by his friends, family, and coaches. High fives and hugs all around. It was supposed to be a draft experience for the ages. 

Unfortunately, the NFL Draft was fully virtual due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Herbert watched his name up on the TV screen and hugged his parents and two brothers from his living room. 

It was an unforgettable career for the Eugene native who will now pack his nags and move 856.9 miles to Los Angeles and live somewhere not called Eugene, Oregon for this first time in his life. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert will be a Charger, says 9-year-old Justin Herbert

[RELATED]: Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s Rookie of the Year odds revealed

I think they got the total package. What you seen in terms of his tangibles, 6-foot-6, 230 pounds that can make every throw imaginable, that can run like the wind. I think when you get a chance to be around Justin, I think the Chargers will quickly find out that his intangibles match this tangible assets as well. — Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal on SportsCenter

Herbert and Oregon made history on draft night, becoming one of three teams in the nation with five first round quarterbacks selected in the draft in the common era: Chris Miller (1987), Akili Smith (1999), Joey Harrington (2002), Marcus Mariota (2015), and Justin Herbert (2020). 

You can listen to the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert here.

Troy Dye receives congratulatory caravan led by Mario Cristobal

Troy Dye receives congratulatory caravan led by Mario Cristobal

The NFL Draft has concluded, and a few teams around the league were fortunate enough to add some Oregon Ducks to the roster. 

But, no two Ducks in the draft pool were more coveted than quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Troy Dye. 

Herbert went off the board on day one, going No. 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers.

After the selection, the Oregon football staff rolled up to Herbert's house to offer their congratulations.

As for Dye, he was the 26th pick in the fourth round and is heading to Minnesota. 

And despite not being a top-10 pick, that didn't discourage the Cristobal and crew from offering the same treatment. 

Kudos to the Ducks for showing they aren't just a football team, but they're a family. Not only did the coaches show their love, but they also made sure to maintain social distancing standards. As you can see in the videos, the Herbert and Dye were elated... so were fans on social media. 

Dan Fouts: Even if Justin Herbert has to start right away, 'he can handle it'

Dan Fouts: Even if Justin Herbert has to start right away, 'he can handle it'

Dan Fouts has walked the path that stands before Justin Herbert. And the former Oregon and San Diego Chargers quarterback believes that the Chargers -- now, of course, relocated to Los Angeles -- are a very good fit for Herbert, who was the No. 6 pick in the NFL Draft Thursday..

“I think, Number One, they’ve got talent,” Fouts said by phone from his long-time home in Sisters. “And they’ve done some things to address their offensive line.

“Hopefully, those will work out.

“Tyrod Taylor appears to be in place (as the starting QB) so I don’t think the pressure to start right away will be on Herbert. Although, if that is a reality, I think he can handle it.

“And for him, wherever he ended up, I thought he would do fine.”

The Chargers got Hall of Famer-to-be Fouts as a bargain -- a third-round pick out of Oregon, 64th player taken in the 1973 draft -- and he sat behind aging Johnny Unitas for four games as a rookie before getting six starts for a team that finished 2-11-1. But in earlier times, it was customary that rookie quarterbacks didn’t start right away -- they waited their turn behind established veterans.

Fouts sees a few things Herbert will need to prepare for in the NFL -- but they are the same things he believes all young quarterbacks need to learn as they step up from the college game.

“The biggest thing for any quarterback, and this isn’t just Justin, but because of the speed of the game and the athleticism of the defensive players, anticipation is vital,” Fouts said. “Your guy is not always going to be wide open. There are a lot of looks and the quarterback has to decipher and anticipate where the receiver is going to be and drop it in there. That’s Number One.

“And Number Two is just ball placement for the receiver, so that the receiver doesn’t lose momentum trying to make a catch of a ball that’s behind him or has to jump for. But these are things that everybody has to deal with at quarterback.

“It comes with experience.”

Fouts hasn’t had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with Herbert but expects to do that.

“Not yet,” he said. “I’m looking forward to seeing him. The season is so up in the air right now I’m not sure what the future holds, but there will be a time.”

In a bewildering move a few weeks ago, CBS decided to drop Fouts from his long-time role as color commentator alongside play-by-play man Ian Eagle. The pair served as the network’s No. 2 NFL broadcast team and worked together for a decade.

“I don’t want to retire,” said Fouts, who turns 69 in June. “I’m exploring options -- that’s the popular saying.  But everything’s on hold until we find a cure (for COVID-19).

“Ian and I are so close and I think he’s fantastic.”

Fouts also wishes the Chargers were back in San Diego, where they were a beloved franchise.

“It goes without saying,” he said.

Why Justin Herbert will be the Los Angeles Chargers’ starter Week One

Why Justin Herbert will be the Los Angeles Chargers’ starter Week One

The Philip Rivers era with the Chargers has officially ended and a new era has only just begun.

With the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Los Angeles selected quarterback Justin Herbert from the University of Oregon. 

[RELATED]: Justin Herbert was destined to be a member of the Los Angeles Chargers

Now it’s time to break down this Bolts quarterback room, and more specifically, if Herbert will be named the starter come week one of the NFL regular season.

Herbert is does not shy away from a little competition: at Oregon, he earned the starting spot in week three of Pac-12 conference play over graduate transfer Dakota Prukop, who started the first five games of that 2016 season, and backup quarterbacks Terry Wilson (now the starter at Kentucky) and Travis Wilson (now a wide receiver at Montana State University). Herbert was fourth string and earned his way to the starting role. 

[RELATED]: Aaron Rodgers says Justin Herbert has arm “you can’t teach”

Now, Herbert joins 10-year veteran Tyrod Taylor and two-year QB Easton Stick (North Dakota State). At 6-foot-6, 237 pounds, Herbert indeed has the size advantage over both 6-foot-1 QB’s, but a disadvantage when it comes to NFL experience.

Former Oregon football head coach Mike Bellotti believes Herbert should sit a few seasons, get used to the NFL pace, learn under Taylor and then take over the reigns. 

I think it’ll be ok if he sits for a year or two, in all honesty, and learns the game and sees the tempo. He’s physically as good as any QB that’s come from Oregon that’s ready for the NFL. I like the opportunity for [Herbert] to go to the Chargers. They have a guy [Taylor] that they can trust initially, but I don’t think that’s their long-term solution. They believe in him and they recognize what he brings to the table. — Mike Bellotti 

Taylor is a 10-year NFL quarterback who was selected in the sixth round (No. 180 overall) of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. In his four years with the Ravens, he appeared in 14 games with zero starts. Taylor was then signed to the Buffalo Bills in 2015 where he became the starter and earned a spot in the Pro Bowl. Taylor completed 63.7 percent of his passes and threw for 20 touchdowns in 2015. After his three-year tenure in Buffalo, he became the starter for Cleveland but suffered an injury after four games. Enter Baker Mayfield.

The difference of coming from college to NFL, that first year, being anointed as the savior, is a very difficult situation and I don’t know that he’s ready— I don’t know if anybody’s ready. — Mike Bellotti 

But Joey Harrington has another, complete opposite outlook on the situation. 

The former first round NFL Draft pick and Oregon football quarterback believe Herbert can come in and earn the starter spot right away.

I’d be floored if he wasn’t on the field Week 1.

If they thought Tyrod Taylor was going to get them to 9-2 instead of 2-9, they wouldn’t have picked Justin [Herbert.] You need a QB that’s going to be a difference maker. He’s not the guy you’re going to build around. — Joey Harrington 

Unfortunately, that time when we see Herbert sporting that gorgeous Chargers new uniform is in question due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we do know one thing: Herbert doesn’t shy from competition and makes those around him better.

Listen to the Talkin' Ducks podcast here.