Breaking down what Jalen Hurts may have meant to say during the Eagles exit interviews

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Jalen Hurts
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts speaking to members of the media at the end of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Jalen Hurts sees a “thrill” in coming up short in his pursuit of delivering a Super Bowl trophy to his adopted city. Speaking two days after a wild-card playoff loss, the franchise quarterback acknowledged the hurt of failing but kept his speech positive. Hurts calmly spoke about resetting the standard and embarking on a new mission in 2024.

“I think truly every year demands a new version of a person, a new version of leadership,” Hurts told reporters on January 17. “And I think this year has taught so much in terms of the lessons and lessons that come with it, and the first thing you do is you look yourself in the mirror. You look at what you could have been better at, how you could have led better, how you could have executed better, and all those things internally that light a fire under me so when you have challenges in front of you you do everything in your power to self-reflect and control what you can, and learn from it.”

The standard wasn’t met this year. Mistakes were made. Lessons were learned. Now it’s time for the Philadelphia Eagles to grow together as a team with a renewed purpose.

“Reality is, unfortunately, it’s already begun,” Hurts said of preparing for 2024. “The journey for this next year has already begun so the eagerness and the passion for that has already begun.”

Press Conference Fun: What Jalen Hurts Said, What Jalen Hurts Meant

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) scrambles as Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Yaya Diaby (0) and defensive tackle Calijah Kancey (94) chase him during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Jalen Hurts is so guarded and calculated with each word, with every cliched phrase, he tosses out in press conferences. There is a feeling among the fan base that the 25-year-old simply Googles motivational sayings ahead of hitting the podium and spews them to shut everyone up. If so, the strategy works when you’re winning but not so much when you’re losing.

Whatever the case, Hurts spoke for roughly 15 minutes with reporters after cleaning out his locker and sitting down for exit interviews with the coaching staff. Here, we attempt to interpret what Hurts actually meant by the words he so carefully chose to use. Away we go ….

When asked about being a leader and setting the standard …

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) reacts to his touchdown pass to Eagles’ A.J. Brown (11) during the second half of an NFL football game against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

What Jalen Hurts said: “I just want to be the best leader I can be for the people around me, you know, and it changes. You talk about standards, you talk about internal expectations, and what you want to do but the one thing I’ve learned is the standard changes because the team changes. We have expectations for how we want to go play…”

“We have expectations for how we want to go do things and operate at the level we want to do that at, but every team sets a new standard because you have guys that come and go … it’s about approaching it the right way and, as a leader, that starts with me, you know, doing that and setting that example.”

What Jalen Hurts meant: Look, I don’t play defense. Why don’t you go ask Howie why he let C.J. Gardner-Johnson, Javon Hargrave, T.J. Edwards, and Marcus Epps leave in free agency. Those guys were my friends and key contributors on a team that went to the Super Bowl. Run it back. The standard? C’mon man. That’s an apartment building in West Philly.

When asked if he had any say in personnel or coaching decisions …

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (11) looking up to fans as they head back to the locker room at the end of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

What Jalen Said: “Owners own. Coaches coach. And players play. I just want to play at a high level. I have a ton of confidence in Coach [Nick Sirianni]. I have a ton of confidence in Howie [Roseman]. I have a ton of confidence in Mr. Lurie. I have to do my job and control the things that I can.”

What Jalen Meant: My say in personnel matters was revoked after A.J. Brown started running his mouth. I’m done. I’m too tired to care. Me and DeVonta Smith are about to have a catch in the snow.

When asked if Nick Sirianni should be fired …

What Jalen Hurts said: “I had no idea that was a thing … so I have no idea that would be the case.”

What Jalen Hurts meant: My PR team didn’t prep me for that question. Someone’s getting fired.

When asked what went wrong during the failed 2023 campaign …

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts reacts after an incomplete pass on a third-down play against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

What Jalen Hurts said: “I say all this is about winning. Different people have different reasons why, and different things drive different people and motivate them differently, but ultimately as a team we gotta have the same why, the same common why, and why we do what we do. And so it’s just a matter of navigating that and that’s the thrill of it. There’s the thrill of not being satisfied and there’s a thrill in not accomplishing something because it drives you that much more to get it done.”

What Jalen Hurts meant: Different people know how to run an offense, you know, different people like this guy named Shane Steichen who ditched us for Indianapolis. Man, I didn’t know Brian Johnson was using the same playbook my dad gave him in high school. Brutal. Anyway, I’m popping these headphones back on to listen to my girl Anita Baker: Everybody’s got opinions … Bout the way they think our story’s gonna end … Some folks feel it’s just a superficial thrill … Everybody’s gonna have to think again.

On navigating expectations and looking ahead to 2024 …

What Jalen Hurts said: “I think the toughest thing about all this right now is that someone else is going to win the world championship. And that’s a lot of motivation in itself, and there’s going to be a lot of reflection in that internally so I can be the best that I can be, to not only operate at a high level on the field but to lead the guys.”

What Jalen Hurts meant: Losing sucks. I hate it. You saw the lock screen on my phone, right? I can’t stop thinking about that red confetti from last year’s Super Bowl falling on my head. So, I got a plan. I’m hitching a ride with Kelce over to Kansas City for their playoff game to plant some green confetti. Hopefully, Taylor Swift autographs it before I sneak into Andy Reid’s chicken nuggies.

AP Photo/Alex Brandon