Jalen Hurts’ Mentors Reveal What Makes Eagles QB Tick: ‘Some People Are Shocked’

Jalen Hurts, Nick Saban

Getty Alabama head coach Nick Saban benched QB Jalen Hurts at halftime of the 2018 National Championship Game.

Jalen Hurts is getting closer and closer to breaking the bank on a multi-year extension. He’s already projected to earn $44.2 million annually, per Spotrac’s estimated market value. Imagine how hoisting the Lombardi Trophy over his head and leading a Super Bowl parade down Broad Street will impact that number.

Hurts likes to use the term “rare breed” to describe himself. It means a variety of things to the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback, but he best summed it up as “just being able to overcome whatever is in front of you.” That’s his definition. There are others.

ESPN’s Rich Eisen recently interviewed three of Hurts’ most important mentors: Nick Saban (his college coach at Alabama), Lincoln Riley (his college coach at Oklahoma), and his dad, Averion Hurts (his coach at Channelview High School). Each person had something different and meaningful to say about Jalen, with everyone bringing up his impeccable character and desire to challenge himself. He doesn’t do anything to prove other people wrong.

Here is a sampling of what was said about Hurts in a nearly 5-minute video released by NFL Network:

Nick Saban: “I always thought he had a natural instinct for understanding the game.”

Averion Hurts: “Jalen’s driven by proving himself right, not to prove other people wrong.”

Lincoln Riley: “His competitiveness, his maturity, it comes from his dad … the way he was raised, the way he was coached. He’s very unique.”

Nick Saban: “The greatest thing about Jalen was the year he was here when he wasn’t the starter, after the national championship game. I told him, ‘You need to take advantage of this year to continue to improve your ability to read coverages, be accurate with the ball, anticipate throws because that’s where you really need to improve on to play at the next level.’ You have to show character in a much greater sense when you’re in a circumstance like that situation. I’ve never seen anybody do it better.”

(Editor’s note: Saban benched Hurts at halftime of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. Tua Tagovailoa came in and guided the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 victory in overtime. Hurts served as Tagovailoa’s backup the following season before transferring to Oklahoma).

Lincoln Riley: “He made me a better coach. He just has a different presence about him, and it’s really, really impressive. It was kind of like, ‘Wow we’re playing with a guy that’s different than what we’ve ever had.’ When NFL teams started calling I just said he’s just as rare as they come in terms of his mindset and mentality. I still think we’re just seeing the beginning of what he can be, which is an exciting thing to think about if you’re an Eagles fan.”

Averion Hurts: “Some people are shocked at the ascension but the progress he’s made is just a testament to the work that he’s put in. I won’t put a limit on it.”

Hurts Preparing for Rematch with Brock Purdy

San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy only has seven NFL starts under his belt after being thrust into the spotlight due to injury. The seventh-rounder is playing with house money and playing at an elite level. He also has previous experience going head-to-head against Hurts.

Purdy and Hurts met in 2019 when Oklahoma beat Iowa State 42-41 in a college football game that came down to the wire. Hurts accounted for 5 total touchdowns in that one, throwing for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns and running for 68 yards and 2 scores. The Sooners stopped a two-point conversion attempt with 24 seconds left to secure the victory.

And Purdy racked up 6 total touchdowns in the game, throwing for 282 yards and 5 touchdowns while rushing for 55 yards and 1 score. It was immediately labeled an instant classic at the time. Three years and two months later, an epic rematch is set between the two quarterbacks in the NFC Championship Game. Wild stuff.

Cowboys Back Dak Prescott Despite Playoff Loss

The Dallas Cowboys are now 27 seasons removed from their last Super Bowl following a 19-12 loss on Sunday. The franchise hasn’t advanced past the NFC Divisional Round since 1995. Quarterback Dak Prescott was taking the brunt of the blame for their latest hiccup. He went 23-of-37 for 206 passing yards but threw two incredibly costly interceptions on horrifically errant throws.

While the fans and media in Dallas are starting to question Prescott’s ability to ever lead the Cowboys back to the Promised Land, team ownership doubled down on their commitment to him. Jerry Jones told ESPN he has supreme confidence in No. 4.

“I thought we would win it because I’ve got such confidence in Dak,” Jones told reporters, via Todd Archer. “I’ll line up out there five times with that [similar] situation, and if we’ve got him at quarterback, I’ll take my chances. So I’m just saying give me that setup a year in advance, a month in advance, and give me him as the quarterback and I feel very strongly that we’ll win.”

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