Ex-Steelers Pro Bowler Talks Eagles QB Debate: ‘He’s Freakin’ Rocky’

Jalen Hurts, Carson Wentz

Getty Eagles coach Doug Pederson talks over a play with QB Jalen Hurts while backup Carson Wentz listens in.

The “he said, she said” drama keeps lighting up sports-talk phone lines in Philadelphia — and the national media has asked the operator to let them into the conversation. The real debate between Carson Wentz and Jalen Hurts has now gone fictional.

It’s been clear for everyone to see that Hurts has brought a certain spark to the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense. He has a slight edge about him, arguably a Philly toughness, plus an overwhelming amount of confidence.

On Monday, former Pittsburgh Steelers safety Ryan Clark called Hurts “freakin’ Rocky” — referencing fictional Philly boxer Rocky Balboa of movie fame — and asking for a statue to be erected while condemning Wentz for being “soft.”

“He don’t have that grit. He don’t have that Philly toughness,” Clark said of Wentz on ESPN’s “Get Up” show. “He doesn’t have that no matter what you throw at me I’m hopping right back up, and I’m looking at it in the face, and I’m beating it. But Jalen Hurts does. Jalen Hurts is Philadelphia. Jalen Hurts is freakin’ Rocky. Put a statue of him up.”

Clark played 13 productive seasons in the NFL, including eight in Pittsburgh and five more in the NFC East during stints with Washington and New York. He was known as a tough player on the field and now uses rugged words as an analyst for ESPN. Clark continued to stoke the Wentz-Hurts debate by admitting that Wentz is the more talented quarterback. But his lack of toughness is a problem.

“I’m going to punch you 17 times in the face but I’m going to get back up and I’m going to keep coming,” Clark said of Hurts. “The other dude [Wentz] ain’t got that and I think the other dude is a more talented quarterback, 100-percent. Carson Wentz is a more talented quarterback than Jalen Hurts but he don’t got nothing of this stuff, man.”

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Don’t Question Wentz’s Toughness, Not Fair

It’s easy to throw stones at a guy when is already down on the ground. Which a ton of people are doing to Wentz after 10 strong quarters from Hurts. But let’s not question Wentz’s toughness. Sure, the one-time franchise quarterback appears to be broken right now. He hasn’t always been this way.

This is the same player who battled back from two knee injuries in 2017 — Grade 3 LCL, Grade 3 ACL — and threw 21 touchdowns in 11 games in 2018. Then, Wentz fractured his back and rehabbed to return and throw for a career-high 4,039 yards while leading the Eagles to the NFC East crown in 2019. Competitive to the end, he was unfortunately knocked out of his first playoff game with a concussion.

“Pain and soreness, bumps and bruises — that’s part of football,” Wentz said earlier this year, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Every guy out there is feeling something along those lines. Within the games, you don’t notice those things. Obviously, you wake up the next morning, you’re going to be a little sore. That’s part of football. That’s part of life. I’ll be fine.”

It’s definitely true that Hurts has been a bolt of lightning — and a breath of fresh air — for the Eagles in 2020. To question Wentz’s physical toughness seems a bit unfair. His mental fortitude? Well, that’s a completely different argument.

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