When Jalen Hurts stepped to the podium for the first time since signing a lucrative five-year $255 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles, any thought of the money going into the head of the newly anointed franchise quarterback was washed away within the first few seconds.
“Money is nice. Championships are better,” the former Oklahoma and Alabama product stated.
It’s been a long road for Jalen Hurts as he prepares to enter his fourth season with the Eagles. On the three-year anniversary of being drafted by the team in a surprising move, the appreciation for those who have helped him along the way wasn’t lost on the 24-year-old.
“I want to thank the Eagles organization. I’m really thankful for this opportunity to not only lead this team and lead this city. Philadelphia is a very special place and a place I want to be for a very long time,” Hurts explained.
Jalen Hurts is coming off a career season in his third year with the Birds. The former second-round pick tallied over 35 total touchdowns while accumulating a combined 4,000 yards of total offense. Behind their starting quarterback, the Eagles’ offense set franchise records in wins and points.
Easily Jalen Hurts’ biggest moment during last year was his performance in Super Bowl LVII. The franchise quarterback tallied close to 400 total yards and tied the Super Bowl record for four total touchdowns in the big game. Unfortunately, the team ultimately failed in knocking off the Chiefs and lost 38-35.
The devastating loss on the game’s biggest stage was compounded by the team’s tight cap situation and over 20 impending free agents. With Jalen Hurts’ extension looming, the thought of keeping the core together became a difficult thing to envision.
Except that’s not what Hurts wanted. While the quarterback is now the highest-paid player in NFL history, a smaller cap hit, and fewer guarantees on his deal have allowed the Eagles to remain competitive and keep a lot of their star power on both sides of the ball.
“You look at all the great teams and great players, it takes a village. I know we have something special going on and we all want to do it for a long time. It was important for me to take that approach with it,” Hurts explained.
All about winning for Jalen Hurts
Right from the get-go of his press conference detailing why he wanted to be a part of the Eagles, the poise and maturity of the quarterback were on full display. Even more apparent was the hunger to continue to win across the entire organization.
“I think I’ve set the precedent for what it is that I desire. The only thing I’ve ever wanted to do is be the best version of myself.”
Yet it’s still an incredible thing that a 24-year-old quarterback talks with the patience and poise of a much older person. It’s Jalen Hurts’ attitude, on top of his improving talent that has made him a “culture setter” to the rest of the front office.
“It’s remarkable that somebody can combine the talent Jalen has, the personal qualities, and the ability at such a young age to be a culture setter,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said before opening the door for his quarterback to take questions.
With the Eagles coming off a conference championship and with most of their starters returning, the opportunity is there for Jalen Hurts and Philadelphia to continue the success they’ve built in recent years.
And there’s no better place to be for Hurts than in the City of Brotherly Love.
“The fans, the culture, the enthusiasm, the passion, and love for the game. Playing at Alabama, and Oklahoma was special but playing in Philly is different. I’m excited for what’s to come.”
AP Photo/Matt Rourke