From Surprise to Understanding: Jalen Hurts’ Journey from Insurance to Superstar

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PHILADELPHIA – There’s more to come in what has been a magical season for Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.

The third-year player was named a Pro Bowl starter, a second-team All-Pro, and an MVP finalist en route to a 16-1 record as the starter for the best team in the NFC, something accomplished by the George Halas trophy were confirmed as conference champions after a 31-7 rout of the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

Hurts, an old soul at 24 defined by his leadership abilities and work ethic, spent a few minutes alone in the Eagles’ locker room, puffing on a victory cigar before speaking to reporters.

It seemed like a moment of reflection, but with the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs still ahead of him and his team in Super Bowl LVII, Hurts stopped short.

“I said earlier in the week that this is not a time for reflection. It’s really hard for me to do that,” he said after the win. “I try to enjoy the moment, but my joy comes in winning.

“I know the work is not done.”

However, Hurts opened up a bit when it came to his well-chronicled journey from sitting on the bench at Alabama, transferring to Oklahoma and building a resume good enough to be the runner-up in the Heisman voting , is rated only as a second. -round pick, No. 53 overall in 2020 by Philadelphia.

Despite the revisionist history in some circles, Hurts was originally projected by the Eagles as a cost-effective backup to injury-prone Carson Wentz, one who would provide ability and maybe even some juice if needed before spinning off a quarter or so become years later for a premium in the best case projection.

When things went off the rails with Wentz, Hurts was given an opportunity out of necessity, earning a postseason berth and Pro Bowl alternate status as a first-time starter in 2021.

While the Eagles were trying to convince Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson to listen to the organization at least through the 2022 offseason, and Howie Roseman took on the draft class at QB by flipping one of his extra first-round picks to 2023 just for in case , Hurts worked dutifully to improve, first with mechanical specialists Adam Dedeaux and Tom House, and then with his coaching staff.

To be fair to Philadelphia, the organization liked Hurts avoiding opportunities at other young QBs in 2021 and 2022 like Justin Fields and Kenny Pickett.

However, Hurts surprisingly revealed one chip on his shoulder.

“My first year here (people) probably didn’t even want (me drafted) here,” he said, a not-so-tacit admission that he’s unacceptable to at least one obvious player. “It was probably one of those things. But it always handles itself.”

Pressed on his statement later, Hurts went back to his time with the Crimson Tide when Nick Saban moved to Tua Tagovailoa.

“It was a big surprise to a lot of people,” Hurts said of the Eagles taking the plunge, something this reporter could speak to directly.

I was given advanced word that the Eagles Hurts at no. 53 would take and it made so little sense when the hesitation was there without a second source.

Finally I put the name on social media because the information was solid and sure enough the Eagles chose Hurts.

“My favorite (Bible) verse, I went through a lot of things in college and it kind of stuck with me, John 13:7: ‘You may not know now, but later you will understand,'” Hurts said. “Hopefully people understand.”

Now it’s hard not to.

“I never knew how far we would get,” he said of the Eagles’ run. “I never knew how far we would go, but I never said it couldn’t be done.”

-John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com’s Eagles Today and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John with legendary sports talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365’, streaming live on YouTube. John is also the host of his own show “Soccer 24/7 and a daily contributor to ESPN South Jersey. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen