NFL Rookie star CJ Stroud gives away Super Bowl tickets to veteran

Texans QB CJ Stroud had a great year on the field. But it's what he's doing off of it in partnership with USAA that's making headlines.
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CJ Stroud holds a microphone and is speaking at the Media Row event at the Super Bowl
LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - FEBRUARY 09: C.J. Stroud is interviewed at Radio Row at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center ahead of Super Bowl LVIII on February 09, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Candice Ward/Getty Images)

CJ Stroud is one impressive dude. The Texans quarterback amassed some incredible stats from his rookie season – 4,108 passing yards, 23 touchdowns and just 5 interceptions. But it’s what he’s doing off the field that is garnering the most attention this week. Stroud partnered with USAA to give away two Super Bowl tickets to a deserving military veteran: Craig Mazeska.

Mazeska served in the United States Marine Corps (1988-1994), achieving the rank of Sergeant. He was a Combat Engineer assigned to 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion Camp LeJeune, NC, and 4th Combat Engineer Battalion, Baltimore, MD. He had overseas deployments to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq where some of his duties included breaching walls, tank traps, minefields and bunkers. Mazeska served on the first line of attack during the Gulf War, Operation Desert Storm. His decorated service history includes being awarded a Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Kuwait Liberation Medal, Unit Citation, among other commendations. Highlights of his service career were frequent interactions with locals that would approach his unit to share their appreciation and smiling faces. After his military career, Mazeska became a teacher and school counselor. He is now retired living in Washington D.C., and remains involved with the Air & Space Forces Association (AFA).    

Mazeska is a lifelong NFL fan, and his favorite team is the Baltimore Ravens. He plans to bring his son, a current college student, with him to the Super Bowl in Las Vegas where they will both meet CJ Stroud before going to the game.  

We caught up with Stroud at the USAA Salute to Service Lounge as part of the Super Bowl experience to talk about what this opportunity meant to him: