Sometimes you learn more about someone by what they don't say than what they do say.
Jalen Hurts chatted with the Philly media Tuesday on a Zoom call, and he was asked three times in slightly different ways about playing positions other than quarterback.
He was respectful, but it was clear he didn't like the line of questioning.
And honestly - with all due respect to my distinguished colleagues - I don't blame him.
He's a 21-year-old kid who's spent his whole life preparing for this moment. He worked his butt off to become an incredibly successful college quarterback. He played on a national championship team as a junior at Alabama and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up as a senior at Oklahoma.
And he's just starting his first NFL training camp as he chases his dream of becoming an NFL quarterback and three of the first four questions he hears in his first press conference since draft day are about NOT playing quarterback?
This is how it went:
QUESTION: "Is your expectation that you will have a role in the offense even if you are not the starting quarterback?"
Jalen Hurts: "(Sigh) I don't look into the expectations. I don't worry about those things. I'm worried about just getting better as a quarterback every day. That's all I'm worried about,."
QUESTION: "How willing, how open and how comfortable would you be doing things other than quarterback?"
Jalen Hurts: "I mean (sigh), I don't want to get into the semantics of those things. (Big sigh). I'm just worried about improving. I've said it three times and I don't want to come off or come across any way, I'm just trying to improve every day. I'm trying to be the best quarterback I can be every day for this team."
QUESTION: "What can you do besides play quarterback? What other positions can you play or are you prepared to play?
Jalen Hurts: "I've played quarterback my whole entire life and I'm here just trying to grow at that position. Trying to take steps and be the best quarterback I can be for this team."
I understand the interest in Hurts as a jack-of-all-trades or a Wildcat or a situational runner. He did rush for nearly 1,300 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. And he's obviously not going to beat out Carson Wentz for the starting job anytime soon. So it's natural to wonder how he can help the football team as long as Wentz is on the field.
But think of this from his perspective.
He piled up nearly 13,000 scrimmage yards in college, threw 80 TDs and 20 interceptions (including 57 and 11 the last three years) and had a 38-4 record as a starter playing in the SEC and the Big 12. His 176.0 passer rating was 2nd-highest in the BCS over the last three years, behind only former teammate Tua Tagovailoa.
Whatever you think of Hurts as a prospect and whatever you think of the Eagles taking him at No. 53 in April, I don't want him doing anything right now other than preparing to play quarterback for this football team.
That's where his full attention should be focused and that's where it is focused.
Sure, he's a heck of a runner, a tremendous athlete and a versatile kid. And if he spoke for 10 minutes about how many different ways he could help the Eagles without playing QB, it would have made a better story. But I like the fact that he didn't.
I want him preparing like a quarterback.
This is a different kind of offseason, with no minicamps or preseason games and a stripped-down training camp.
Hurts has 46 days to get ready to play NFL football because last time I checked Wentz has been having trouble getting to the end of the season, and the NFL is trying to operate amidst a pandemic that could knock a QB or two out of commission at any time.
There'll be a time when Doug Pederson and the other offensive coaches sit down with Hurts and add a gadget play or two.
And if his number gets called, it'll be fun to watch.
But right now there's an offense to learn, wide receivers to throw to, defenses to study.
Jalen Hurts is a quarterback, and I'm glad he's thinking like one.
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Stop asking Jalen Hurts about being a gadget player originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia