Eagles' Jalen Hurts says he's not above competition

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Hurts says he's not above competition originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

Despite the fact that head coach Nick Sirianni has bent over backwards to avoid saying it directly, it remains painfully obvious that Jalen Hurts will be the Eagles’ starting quarterback in 2021.

Since his arrival in Philadelphia, however, Sirianni has championed competition at every turn. And maybe he doesn’t think it would be wise to simply and publicly hand over the most important job on the team before they even get to a real practice.

And Hurts doesn’t seem to care.

There are no entitlement issues with the 22-year-old quarterback.

“I know I’m not above anything with a competition or football IQ, all the values we have, I’m not above none of that,” Hurts said on Wednesday as the Eagles were back at the team facility for Phase 2 of their offseason. “That’s kind of where that is.”

Wednesday was the first time Hurts spoke publicly to a virtual horde of reporters since the Eagles’ 2020 season ended with a disappointing 4-11-1 record. A lot has changed since then. Doug Pederson was fired, Sirianni was hired, Carson Wentz was traded and Joe Flacco was signed.

The Eagles had the No. 6 pick in the draft and instead of drafting a quarterback, they traded back and then up again to draft Hurts’ college teammate receiver DeVonta Smith.

Sure, the quarterback position is very much up in the air when you look at the Eagles from the long-term perspective. But for this season? It’s pretty clear the Birds are going to give Hurts the year to get a true evaluation on whether or not he can be the guy.

The fact that they’re not saying it yet? That doesn’t bother Hurts in the slightest. In fact, he seems to share that mentality.

“Rent is due every day. It’s always been that way,” Hurts said. "Always been a get-better mentality every day, grow every day, be a better leader every day, be a better quarterback every day. When that rent’s due, I don’t plan on missing no payments. It’s work.”

Hurts on Wednesday remembered back to his Alabama days when he saw the legendary Nick Saban instill his core values. He’s now watching Sirianni do the same thing with the program in Philadelphia.

“You see coach Nick Sirianni coming in, preaching connection, preaching accountability and competition and fundamentals and football IQ, preaching all these things,” Hurts said. “I know in all of those different avenues, all those different values and principles that we’re trying to instill here in Philly. No one is above that.”

Quarterbacks have a tendency to be entitled. The game at the NFL level is seemingly built that way these days. Quarterbacks are the highest paid players, they’re protected by the rules and this offseason we’ve seen plenty of them use their power to end up in better (or different) situations.

But if we take him at his word, the fact that Hurts doesn’t feel like he’s above the rest of the team is important, especially as Sirianni builds his own culture in the NovaCare Complex.

Hurts claimed on Wednesday that his mindset hasn’t changed going into Year 2 despite his elevated status within the organization. He’s still focused on the simple task of winning, especially after his rookie season, which was a disaster from a team standpoint. The Eagles finished with a 4-11-1 record, dead last in the worst division in the NFL.

“It didn’t go the way we wanted it to. Ultimately, in the end, we didn’t have the outcome we wanted,” Hurts said. “Very hungry. And we don’t plan on missing meals.”

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