Justin Herbert is still getting acclimated to what's been a rookie season unlike any other.
So far, he's experienced an offseason training program with Zoom meetings, daily coronavirus tests and social distancing from teammates and coaches while trying to play football.
But to get him up to NFL speed, the former Oregon star relied on a fellow Duck for advice on being a pro. That person was Kellen Clemens, who played at Oregon from 2002-05 under then head coach Mike Bellotti, before being selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the New York Jets.
"One of the guys that I actually ended up talking with was Kellen Clemens who played here a couple years ago," Herbert said during Wednesday's availability. "He's one of those Oregon guys that has been so helpful and is a mentor of mine and I've really looked up to him. He had some great things to offer, a bunch of advice to give, so it was really good to speak with him."
Justin Herbert speaks to the media. https://t.co/omtQYQ8uq5— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) August 26, 2020
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Clemens had stints with the Jets, Washington, Texans and Rams before ending up with the Chargers from 2014-17. But before that, the Oregon native had the opportunity to watch Herbert's career in Eugene elevate year after year.
Clemens shared some insightful advice on his 11-year NFL career that the Los Angeles Chargers first-round pick grasped onto.
"He told me your career is never going to be always uphill," Herbert reflected. "There are going to be ups and downs and at the end of the day, you need to get better. You're going to make mistakes along the way. It's not about how high it gets or how low it gets. It's always about climbing back up and doing better the next day, and never letting your past mistakes affect your future. So, he really helped me with that."
Clemens has been praising Herbert since the 6-foot-6, 237-pounder passed for 3,417 yards, 32 touchdowns and only six interceptions in 2019 while leading the Ducks to a 12-2 record, a Pac-12 Championship, and a Rose Bowl Championship in his senior season.
He knew exactly what the Bolts were getting.
"(Herbert) just does it the right way," Clemens told Chargers.com in April. "You're never going to read his name in the papers for something like (if he) was out at 2:00 a.m. or in the wrong place at the wrong time. You're not going to do that with him. I've got a 10-year-old son, and when he starts to ask me, 'Dad, is this guy a good role model?' I'm trying to steer him in the direction of guys he can emulate both on the field and off the field. Justin was just one of those guys. You watch him in an interview, he's well-spoken. I still am in touch with people at the university and you ask (questions like,) what type of guy he is, is he a good leader? Is he a good teammate? How is he in the community? And Justin was unanimous and checked all the boxes."
With the right system designed to help Herbert succeed while learning from 10-year veteran Tyrod Taylor, and plenty of talent across the board in Los Angeles, Herbert has every opportunity to make a name as an NFL quarterback.
Now, he's got the advice from an all-time Oregon great to help him succeed at the next level too.
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