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28 Apr 2023

Hurts’ determination, work ethic, and character made extension possible

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April 28, 2023 Category: Sports Posted by:

The same fortitude that helped Hurts lead two teams to the College Football Playoffs is paying off in the pros.

ABOVE PHOTO: Jalen Hurts (Photo by Webster Riddick)

By Chris Murray 

For the Philadelphia Sunday SUN

Perhaps the most compelling quote about Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts 2022 season came during the postgame interviews at Super Bowl LVII. 

During his postgame press conference, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was basking in the glow of his own MVP performance in the Super Bowl, had nothing but praise for Hurts, who had an equally outstanding, if not better performance in the NFL’s biggest game. 

“I mean, if there were any doubters left there shouldn’t be now,” Mahomes said. “I mean, the way he stepped on this stage and ran, threw the ball, whatever it took for his team to win. I mean, that was a special performance. I don’t want it to get lost in the loss that they had.”

In the Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs, Hurts put the Eagles on his back and accounted for 374 total yards (304 yards passing, 70 yards rushing) and four touchdowns. He also led the Birds on a clutch game-tying drive late in the game. 

Hurts’ Super Bowl performance, as well as the 2022 regular-season, definitely wasn’t lost on the Eagles’ front office, which made Hurts the highest-paid player in the NFL. For leading the Birds to their second Super Bowl appearance in the last five years, Hurts received a hefty five-year $255 million contract extension which will net him $50 million a year. 

“It starts with Jalen,” Eagles general manager and executive vice president Howie Roseman said. “His work ethic and his determination from the first day we drafted him He had a vision of what kind of player he was going to be. Just everyone who has been around him has rallied around him. It’s a great story, but certainly not the end of the story. I think we’re at the beginning of the story.”

And to think, no one thought this story would be told at all. Hurts work ethic and determination made him the franchise quarterback no one thought he’d become and he’s being handsomely rewarded for it. 

Throughout his football career at both the collegiate and professional levels, Hurts has always had to fight through some kind of adversity to get to this point in his career. From overcoming being benched at Alabama during a national championship game or having to learn a new system at Oklahoma and then leading the Sooners to the College Football Playoff, Hurts has always had a knack for turning lemons into lemonade.

“I know have walked through the line of fire time and time again and in the end, it has always made me stronger,” Hurts said during the press conference announcing his contract extension. “The only thing that I want to do. I’ve been on this constant quest to be the best player that I can be with no limits.”

When the Eagles picked Hurts as a second-round draft in 2020, most observers thought, at best, that he would be a career backup at best. In fact, there were more than a few people who said the Birds shouldn’t have selected Hurts in the second round. 

At that point, the idea that Hurts would ultimately be the team’s franchise quarterback was out of the question and not even within the realm of possibility. When Hurts assumed the starting quarterback duties after the Eagles benched Carson Wentz late in the 2020 season, he was simply a placeholder in the eyes of the so-called experts. 

Even after Hurts led the Eagles to playoffs in 2021, the team reportedly tried to make a trade for veteran quarterback Russell Wilson and 2022 was supposed to be another year that Hurts kept the position for a potential first-round pick in the next draft. 

But Hurts killed all that talk with a performance that made him a finalist for the NFL MVP Award. He passed for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 101.6 while completing 66.5 percent. He rushed for 760 yards on the ground with touchdowns.  

In all, Hurts accounted for 4,461 yards of offense and 35 touchdowns. He led the Eagles to the best record in the NFL, the NFC East crown, and the NFC Championship, they were five minutes and a questionable defensive holding call away from winning it all. 

Most of the media intelligentsia in this town didn’t think Hurts had it in him to lead this franchise, but if folks really understood his work ethic throughout his football career, they would have seen it coming. 

“There’s not a moment where I can reflect because the journey is not over, “Hurts said. “The hard work continues, and the fire continues to burn.”

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