Eagles’ Jalen Hurts will realize a childhood dream on Thursday night

Hurts will realize a childhood dream on Thursday night originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

When the Eagles play the Texans on Thursday Night Football it will be the culmination of a lifelong dream for Houston native Jalen Hurts.

Just don’t expect him to change up his routine.

“It’s a business trip,” Hurts said this week. “It’s a business trip.”

But even if Hurts really is that focused, there’s no question he’s looking forward to playing in NRG Stadium for the first time in his life. It’s something he’s always wanted to do.

Not only will he do it on Thursday night, but he’ll do it as the quarterback of the only undefeated team in the NFL and as a legitimate MVP candidate.

“I think going back to Houston should be fun,” Hurts said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to play in NRG/Reliant Stadium. I’ve spent a lot of time in that city, my childhood growing up in Houston, going to watch the Texans play, being in the Texans facility as a kid, going to watch high school playoff games in that stadium and not having the opportunity to play in it. I’ll have an opportunity this week and I’m looking forward to playing back home. It’ll be fun.”

Hurts, 24, played high school football for his dad at Channelview and even though some high school playoff game are played at NRG Stadium (formerly Reliant) Hurts never got the chance.

But he was around that facility on Kirby Ave. quite a bit.

Hurts’ godfather worked for the Texans for many years so a young Jalen would visit during OTAs and training camp.

“It was just an experience for me to be around the game and be around professionals,” he said. “I was always around high school athletes, but being around professionals.”

He was around the Texans when J.J. Watt and Andre Johnson were at the tops of their games. Johnson once gave Hurts a pair of his Air Jordan cleats.

Hurts said he expects a lot of family members and friends in the stands on Thursday night but when asked how many, he said, “It don’t matter.”

Maybe not. Hurts is trying to treat this like any other game — and he should — but there’s no doubt he’s excited about it.

“I could say he’s looking forward to it because he’s going back home, playing in front of his home state,” A.J. Brown said. “Who wouldn’t want to play in front of their home state? You want to make everybody proud, look at all he accomplished. I’m sure he’ll be ready.”

The Eagles are up to 13.5-point favorites over the Texans and most eyes in the respective cities on Thursday night will probably be on Game 5 of the World Series.

But none of that matters too much Hurts. Not the World Series, not the trip home.

“While it is exciting, my process doesn’t change,” he said. “My mentality doesn’t change. Every week is a business trip. It’s a business trip. That’s how I’m treating this week. Nothing changes.”

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