Super Bowl LVII: Jalen Hurts always stoic, doubter-driven, Eagles say

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts speaks to the media at Super Bowl LVII Opening Night on Monday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
1 of 5 | Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts speaks to the media at Super Bowl LVII Opening Night on Monday at the Footprint Center in Phoenix. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

PHOENIX, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Jalen Hurts maintains a stoic demeanor, but often delivers powerful messages when he speaks. Teammates say his poise calms the Philadelphia Eagles, while doubts from others have sparked the quarterback's Super Bowl run.

Hurts is only 24 years old, but often speaks like a veteran. His words sound rehearsed, despite not knowing questions before they are asked. He doesn't overreact to struggles and isn't satisfied with success. It's a mode he never shuts off.


"He is always like that," Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown said Wednesday at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass in Phoenix.

"Sometimes, I have to step away from him because he is always like that. Sometimes I don't want to hear it, but that's just who he is. He is always locked in."

Hurts is one of Brown's best friends and godfather to his daughter. The two met while Hurts was at Alabama, when the quarterback hosted Brown and attempted to recruit him to the school.


Brown went on to play at Mississippi, and then joined the Tennessee Titans in the 2019 NFL Draft. He finally became Hurts' teammate through a trade last off-season.

Brown said he stayed in contact with Hurts over the past several years, which led to learning more about what's in the quarterback's mind.

"He really wants to be great," Brown said. "He hears the doubters and he's driven from within. His mindset is on another level.

"He is always listening to Tom Brady and watching Michael Jordan highlights while we are working out. Sometimes, I just want to listen to music."

Hurts said he was motivated when he was benched at Alabama in favor of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. He faced more adversity when he slipped out of the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft and had to fight for the Eagles starting job as a rookie.

He recently told reporters that one of his favorite Bible verses, which he paraphrased -- "You may not know now, but later you'll understand" -- motivated him through his journey. He is now headed toward the biggest stage of his career -- Super Bowl LVII -- Sunday In Glendale, Ariz.


Hurts totaled 16 touchdown passes and nine interceptions in 2021, his first season as a full-time starter. His stats improved in nearly every category in 2022-23.

Hurts always excelled as a runner, but flourished as a passer in 2022. In 2020, he became the first quarterback in more than 70 years to total more than 500 passing yards and 150 rushing yards in his first two career starts.

This season, he became the first quarterback to log more than 150 rushing yards, 150 passing yards and more than two passing touchdowns in a single game, a November win over the Green Bay Packers.

The next week, he became the first Eagles player to total at least 350 passing yards, three passing scores and a rushing touchdown in the same game.

Hurts' 4,461 total yards this season set a franchise record. His 13 rushing touchdowns were the most ever for an Eagles quarterback. His ability as a runner kept defenses honest and helped the Eagles total the third-most yards in the NFL.

"It has been fun to be here for a third year with Jalen and to watch his progress," Eagles center Jason Kelce said Wednesday. "You've seen it in him the entire time. It's just been about gaining experience, gaining comfort and gaining confidence. As that has happened, he has gotten better."


Statistics prove that Hurts' dual-threat ability could help any offense. But Eagles All-Pro tackle Lane Johnson said the quarterback's' ability to not get too high or too low emotionally has helped form the team's identity.

He also said Hurts' ability to squat 600 pounds in the weight room earned him immediate respect with veterans.

"He acts the same now as he did whenever our record was the first half of last season (2-5) and we had to make a second-half surge," Johnson said.

"I think its about the adversity he played through in those turbulent times. He has always been consistent."

Johnson also compared Hurts to the character Ivory Christian from the movie Friday Night Lights. Christian often speaks about his faith and delivers an impassioned locker room speech in that 2004 film.

Hurts said his work ethic and personality was built from lessons he learned from his father. He called Averion Hurts, who coached him at Channelview High School in Channelview, Texas, his "hero."

"I think there's a different journey you go through when you're a coach's kid," Hurts said Tuesday. "I love this game. I love the process of it and I saw it firsthand with my father.


"I truly embrace the grind. I find the process of getting better to be thrilling."

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni told reporters earlier this week that he is "particularly happy" for Hurts, compared to other players who made the Super Bowl, because of how "relentless of a worker he is."

"People ask me all the time, what is Jalen Hurts' ceiling? I don't think we know," Sirianni said.

The Eagles and Chiefs will kick off Super Bowl LVII at 6:30 p.m. EST Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game will air on Fox.

Super Bowl LVII week begins with Opening Night event

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes speaks to the media at the Super Bowl LVII Opening Night event at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on February 6, 2023. The Kansas City Chiefs will will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on February 12. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

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