No Limit Soldier
Hurts: Big Money Won't Blur Bigger Vision
Insisting that he wouldn’t be distracted or deterred by recently becoming the highest-paid player in NFL history, Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts on Monday repeated some of his favorite slogans from when he was one of the league’s lowest-paid players.
“Keep the main thing the main thing,” Hurts said at the NovaCare Complex in response to a question about any major life changes or marketing opportunities that could come with the landmark five-year, $255 million extension he and the Eagles agreed to last week.
Hurts, who made just over $1 million last year while showcasing MVP talent and leading the Eagles to the Super Bowl, admitted to feeling “mixed emotions” about the new deal that offers him lifetime comfort.
“This is not an arrival point. This is just a stop on the journey,” he said at the NovaCare Complex, resplendent in a suit similarly colored to the Eagles’ Midnight Green uniforms. “I’m grateful. I’m thankful. But I’m just so hungry.”
Hurts opened his press conference by thanking Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, team personnel chief Howie Roseman, and Lurie’s son, Julian, who works in the team’s Business and Football Operations Strategy, for “shocking the world and taking the kid from Oklahoma” three years prior to the date of the press conference.
The Eagles stunned the NFL by selecting Hurts in the second round of the 2020 draft, a remarkable selection given the team’s steep financial and long-term commitment at the time to starting quarterback Carson Wentz.
The team spoke that night about its own unique viewpoint on the importance of the backup quarterback position, but by 2021, after a messy divorce between the organization and Wentz, Hurts had already claimed the starting job.
Hurts’ job security appeared shaky after leading the Eagles to a 9-8 record in 2021 that ended in a first-round playoff blowout loss to Tampa Bay, but he blossomed this past season, reaching career highs in passing yards (3,701), passing touchdowns (22), and completion percentage (66%), along with 760 rushing yards and 13 rushing touchdowns.
His 101.5 passer rating ranked fourth in the NFL and his 8 yards per attempt ranked third. Both of his starting receivers, A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, went over the 1,000-yard receiving mark.
In the Super Bowl, Hurts accounted for almost 400 yards – 301 passing, 70 rushing – and four total touchdowns. He was cruising toward the Super Bowl MVP award until the Chiefs erased a 10-point halftime deficit and won, 38-35.
At the podium, Hurts refused to reflect on his rapid ascent or the $51 million he’s slated to make annually, tops among all NFL quarterbacks, tabling those discussions while he said unfinished business remains.
“I truly love the game. I hate to lose,” he said. “This isn’t a moment where I can reflect, because the journey’s not over.”
At times throughout his opening statement, Hurts paused and carefully considered his words. Typical of Hurts, he didn’t read from a prepared statement and shot straight from the hip.
But after nearly every unplanned pause came those same measured, blue-collar platitudes he’s been known to both repeat and live by.
“I’m on this constant quest to be the best player I can be – with no limits,” he said. ” That will never change. The hard work continues and the fire continues to burn.”
Also in the audience were Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni, some Eagles players – including wide receivers Smith and Quez Watkins – along with Hurts’ girlfriend, Bryonna Burrows, and his agent, Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports Group.
Jeffrey Lurie spoke first at the news conference, telling the public that Hurts would be “leading the way for many, many years to come.”
“This is the beginning of a career arc for a remarkable persona and a remarkable player,” Lurie said. “The future we don’t even know. The ceiling – there is no ceiling. It’s all there. the fture is set. He sets the culture as well. It’s all no there for the taking.”
Hurts, who also received the first no-trade clause in team history, said he didn’t push for the rare fully guaranteed contract because “it takes a village” to compete for championships, meaning he didn’t want to strangle the team’s cap and complicate Roseman’s job of building a Super Bowl roster with fewer funds.
The contract could be viewed as validation for the winding trek Hurts has traveled throughout his college and pro career, from losing his starting job at Alabama to Tua Tagovailoa one year after leading the Crimson Tide to a national championship, to the criticism of his passing acumen following the first 20 starts of his pro career, from the team’s unspoken but known flirtation with veteran quarterbacks last offseason that never materialized.
At the Super Bowl, Hurts said he had “a purpose before anyone had an opinion,” a message intended to reveal his ability to funnel out criticism and extraneous noise to focus on his objectives.
Asked if the new contract vindicated his purpose, Hurts said: “Money is nice. Championships are better.”
– Geoff Mosher (@geoffmoshernfl) is co-host of the “Inside the Birds” podcast and staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
Listen to the latest “Inside The Birds” podcast featuring Geoff Mosher, Adam Caplan and Andrew DiCecco here:
Or watch on YouTube: