‘Heated exchange’ between Eagles stars Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown is being completely overblown

Eagles a.j brown
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) and quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) celebrating their touchdown against the Washington Commanders during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Philadelphia Eagles were holding a 27-14 lead when things appeared to get heated between Jalen Hurts and A.J. Brown. The cameras caught an animated conversation on the sideline, one in which head coach Nick Sirianni had to shut down.

Hurts and Brown are best friends off the field. That’s a well-documented fact. Hence why the nay-sayers were quick to run with a negative narrative about the altercation between the Eagles stars. Was Brown really complaining to his quarterback with his team up by 13 points? Was he mad about only seeing four targets heading into the fourth quarter?

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) catches a touchdown pass against Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon (25) during the first half of an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Those debates were raging on sports talk radio and social media until the wee hours of the morning. We’ll table them for another day. Brown finished with four catches for 29 yards, including three targets on the series after the sideline dust-up.

Hurts summed up the incident best when he said: “We won. We won, I don’t want to make it bigger than what it is. We’re talking about external factors here, those things don’t matter. What’s said out there, that can potentially divide this group, doesn’t matter. We won.”

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws during the first half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Sirianni was a bit more guarded when asked about what happened between Hurts and Brown. He wanted to keep whatever was said in-house and delivered a dismissive — although far from belligerent — response to reporters and put a bow on it.

“The conversations we have on the field are going to be private, and the conversations
we have in our locker room are going to be private,” Sirianni said. “You don’t need to know what was going on right there.”

Sirianni is right. Players are passionate and words get exchanged in the heat of the moment. It happens in every sport, not just professional football. And those conversations are really none of anybody’s business outside the locker room.

Does it make for a great clickbait story? Sure. Hack writers across the country were salivating at the headline possibilities. Some jumped on the grenade and wasted valuable ink on it. Some took the high road and ignored it. Whatever the case, it’s over and done with it. The Eagles are 2-0.

“I think everybody wants to make plays and everybody wants to contribute,” Hurts said. “I have no worry about him, he’s a great player, a great teammate, a great friend, and we’ll do anything and everything to win.”

Imaginary Rivalry in Eagles’ WR Room: DeVonta Smith vs. A.J. Brown

DeVonta Smith has been the more explosive Eagles receiver through the first two weeks. He has been targeted a whopping 15 times while making 11 catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns. Smith hauled in four balls for 131 yards and a score against Minnesota.

Meanwhile, Brown has taken a bit of a backseat but not as much as the conspiracy theorists want you to believe. He actually has one more total target than Smith so far this season, with a not-too-shabby 11 catches for 108 yards. Brown did have a touchdown grab called back on Thursday night, plus a missed pass interference call that likely cost him another score.

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeVonta Smith (6) catches the ball and runs for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, Sept. 14, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Why does any of this matter? It doesn’t, except for the fact that Brown seems to think there is a rivalry building within the fan base. It is Team Smith versus Team Brown in his (maybe?) warped imagination.

Let’s review how Brown responded to these comments from Darius Slay after the Pro Bowl cornerback threw flowers on Smith: “Ain’t gonna be too much longer before we’re saying Smitty is the best receiver in the league for sure.” Slay was hyping up his teammate, not trying to instigate an in-house feud in the wide receivers room. Brown, strangely and unprompted, advised the Philly faithful to stop choosing sides.

“I think he’s giving DeVonta his flowers. I think also, that’s his opinion. I’m excited for this season, for the both of us. It’s not no competition for none of us,” Brown told reporters on August 28. “Honestly, I wish the fans would stop trying to choose, and just enjoy both of us while they have both of us.”

Brown’s last sentence bears repeating: let’s enjoy both of them while they are wearing Eagles uniforms. The franchise has never had two playmakers of this caliber catching passes together in the same offense. They have the opportunity to grow and build something special. Let’s not chase them out of town or ruin their good chemistry. Remember, egos are fragile.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon