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“Great, young leader” Jalen Hurts rewarded with first Super Bowl opportunity

Jalen Hurts has overcome every obstacle in front of him during the 2022-23 NFL season with the Philadelphia Eagles and now the former National Champion has a final test to overcome in two weeks time on football’s biggest stage.

Hurts and the Eagles booked their second Super Bowl trip out of the past six years on Sunday following a 31-7 victory over the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. The third-year pro has taken monumental steps in his overall development under Nick Sirianni, being nominated for both the league’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Offensive Player of the Year awards, while also leading the Eagles to a current 16-3 record and setting several records along the way.

Hurts didn’t have to throw the ball 40 times or rush the ball 20 in Sunday’s latest win over the 49ers, but he made smart decisions when needed and helped the Eagles keep DeMeco Ryans’ defense off balanced for most of the game. Sunday marked the latest valiant effort from the 24-year-old who admitted he wasn’t 100 percent heading into the game due to a lingering shoulder injury.

“Yeah, just awesome,” Eagles CEO and Chairman Jeffrey Lurie said about Hurts. “He is a great young leader. He is a terrific young quarterback. When we drafted him it was the upside we were banking on. We thought he had a huge upside. It takes a couple years. And somebody so dedicated as [QB] Jalen [Hurts] and such a great teammate. Inevitably he is going to maximize everything he has and that’s what he’s done. And he’s got great teammates and great coaches. And I can’t understate it takes everybody. Talk about the owner, talk about the head coach, talk about the quarterback, talk about the [general manager]. We’re only as good as the staff that we have and in a way that is the secret sauce, the culture, and the staff.”

A showdown with the Kansas City Chiefs in February’s Super Bowl will be the biggest game of Hurts’ career after excelling at both the University of Alabama and University of Oklahoma during his collegiate career. Hurts was a part of the Crimson Tide’s National Championship-winning side in 2017 before leading Oklahoma to a Big 12 Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoffs in 2019-20.

After overtaking Carson Wentz as the Eagles starter in 2020, Hurts has continued to develop his overall game with the Eagles, being one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks during the 2022-23 campaign. The growing number of weapons in the Eagles offense has certainly added to Hurts’ production this season, but his overall leadership has been on display during several crucial times throughout the year.

Hurts remains grateful to his teammates for helping deliver one of the best seasons in franchise history, but also admits improvement is needed to knock off Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to bring a second Super Bowl back to Philadelphia in 13 days time

“I don’t really know how to feel to be honest,” Hurts said when asked about leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl. “You work really hard to put yourself in this position and I’m forever grateful. Only God knows the things that each individual on this team has been able to overcome for us to come together as a team and do something special as a group. That’s what means the most. I always want to go out there and give my best regardless of what’s going on because I don’t want to let down the guy next to me. That makes us all go harder. I know I’ve been through a lot personally, but I don’t want to steer away from the direction of how good this team has been at playing together, being together, and challenging one another. When we experience some painful times and some tough times, we always found a way to overcome. You want to be going into a situation like this, and we have a chance to go out there and win it all, so we want to prepare to go do that.

“We want to go out there and play to our standard,” he added about the Super Bowl. “That doesn’t change regardless of the magnitude of the game. Today was good enough to get the win and advance, but we still want to go out there and play to our standard. In the end however the chips fall, I’ll be able to get to enjoy it or not.”



You can follow Larry Henry on Twitter (@lhenry019) and e-mail him at [email protected].

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