Eagles' Jalen Hurts, Dolphins' Tua Tagovailoa discuss their curious friendship

·4 min read

Hurts, Tagovailoa discuss their curious friendship originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

It’s a curious relationship between Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa, and considering everything that’s happened over the years it’s amazing they even have a relationship.

It was Tagovailoa that replaced Hurts at halftime of the 2017 BCS Championship Game at the Georgia Dome with Alabama trailing Georgia 13-0 and rallied the Crimson Tide to a 26-23 overtime win.

Hurts eventually transferred to Oklahoma but not before rallying Alabama to a 35-28 win over Georgia a year later in the SEC Championship Game after Tagovailoa got hurt.

Despite the competition and the drama, Hurts and Tagovailoa remain friends. Although they don’t hang out during the offseason or train together, they keep in touch and have a healthy respect for each other that nothing has been able to shake.

“I want to see him win and I know he wants to see me win,” Hurts said after the Eagles practiced at the Dolphins’ facility in Miami Gardens Thursday.

“I would say we don’t spend time together in the offseason, but we text each other,” Tagovailoa said after practice on Wednesday.

The Dolphins drafted Tagovailoa with the fifth pick in 2020 and the Eagles selected Hurts 48 picks later.

Tua is 13-8 in 21 starts with 27 passing touchdowns, six rushing TDs, 15 interceptions, 66 percent accuracy and an 88.8 passer rating. Hurts is 9-10 in 19 starts with 22 TDs, 13 rushing TDs, 13 INTs, 59 percent accuracy and an 84.7 passer rating.

Hurts was already the reigning SEC Offensive Player of the Year when Tagovailoa arrived at Alabama.

“Yeah, I knew when I went to Alabama, I’d have to compete and compete against a guy that was really good,” Tagovailoa said. “The year before that he was the SEC Player of the Year, and he led his team to the national championship. So I knew what I was up against. But at the same time, when you go to a place like that, the standards are high, expectations are extremely high as well, because of the success that they’ve had.

“And really just you’ve got to go out there and compete every day. And I would say that’s how being at a place like Alabama has helped set up success for me coming into the NFL. Nothing’s given to you. You got to earn everything.”

Hurts said he enjoys catching up with all his old Alabama teammates – and there were certainly plenty at practice on Wednesday, including defensive tackle Raekwon Davis, receiver Jaylen Waddle and Tagovailoa.

“It was good catching up with those guys, good to see them in action, knowing how far they’ve come, knowing what all they went through coming from the same place, going through the same things, going through that same process,” he said. “It’s always pleasant to see them doing big things.”

Tagovailoa was asked how he remembers Hurts in college, and he described the same guy we see every day at the NovaCare Complex.

“The dude’s a hard worker in the weight room, in the classroom and then on the field,” he said. “The dude had to be the first into the weight room, he had to be the first out onto the field. Like sprints, he had to be first. So it really tells you how he goes about his life. It tells you about how he kind of sees things and how he looks at things.”

Tagovailoa and Hurts both described a relationship where they keep in touch, support each other and help each other out when they can.

“They had a joint practice with the Falcons last year so prior to the (Eagles-Falcons) game I reached out to him, gave me some good insight on things, told me how he was kind of seeing their defense and personnel things,” Hurts said.

“And then I actually gave him some insight on the Patriots, I think they played the Patriots early in the season last year. It’s always good to be connected to guys around the league and coaches around the league. It’s all to help a friend.”

They're both 24, they both starred at Alabama, they're both in their third season, they're both starting NFL quarterbacks playing for a coach that didn't draft them.

“I know our relationship with me and Jalen is not going to go anywhere,” Tagovailoa said. “My relationship with me and Mac (Jones) is not going to go anywhere. Regardless of how many times we talk throughout the year, throughout the week, or if we don’t.

“And it doesn’t always have to be football. It can also be how are you doing? How’s the family life? How’s everything like that? I would say all of our relationships have been good.”