Jalen Hurts has something to prove. After a rollercoaster rookie season in Philly, the quarterback is ready to step up to the plate as QB1 and lead his team to a successful season. As regular season kickoff approaches, he has one goal in mind: WIN.
We asked Jalen about Philly’s new leadership, what he’s most excited for this season, and what kind of mark he wants to leave on the game. Here’s what he had to say.
“Jalen Hurts is a rare breed.
I’m gonna prove that I am what I say I am. “
Q: You’ve got a new head coach and a new offensive system to adapt to this year. What has the transition to this new system been like, and what are you most excited about for this offense?
A: This year, I’m excited for an opportunity to do what I love – to go out there and play and compete. We truly have an opportunity to do something special, and taking advantage of that, working, holding each other accountable to do the things that we need to do so we can be successful, that’s what I’m most excited about.
We’re going into this new season with new everything – new coaches, new playbook, everything’s new – and we’re very excited about it. Excited about the energy Coach Sirianni is bringing in, the values and principles he’s instilling in the team. Piece by piece, we’re buying into it, coming together and being a true team, getting ready to go out there and have success.
Q: What are some personal goals you’ve set for yourself this upcoming season?
A: When it comes to individual goals and personal goals, I talk to God and we have our good conversations. But I keep it very simple: Win, Win, Win. That’s why we work. That’s where my joy comes from. It comes from winning.
There’s always the thrill of not being satisfied. Knowing that there’s always room for improvement, always more to work on. Enough is never enough.
“My football career will be defined by me. Did I use this game of football to open up doors elsewhere, create new roads and avenues to serve, uplift, change? Did I do that? That’s how I define it.”
Q: Where do you think we will see the biggest leap in your game?
A: Ever since I came into college, my freshmen year, sophomore year, junior year, senior year, every year I just gradually got better. And it just clicked for me. You take natural steps as a player – with the work you put in and what you invest – you get that out in the end, when you put that work in and you do things the right way. I’m just ready for it. I’m excited for it.
Q: Most often with teams, the quarterback is the leader in the locker room. This will be your first season in Philly where there is a strong chance you’ll be the starting QB. How do you go about getting guys, some who have never been around you or played with you before, to buy into the team and buy into you as the leader of the team?
A: You have to compete at everything you do. We’re in this every single day and you get out what you put in. I pride myself on putting something in every day – mentally, emotionally, physically, whatever it is – it all matters. In a nutshell, that’s what my leadership is. Accountability is value #1 for me. Not being a hypocrite is value #2, because as a leader, people are going to look at you and say, “What are you doing? How is he handling this?” All eyes are on you, so how you respond to a situation is very crucial. I never get on a guy, I never hassle a guy for not doing something that I ain’t doing. As a leader, I try to be a man of character, I try to be a man that’s going to do my job. I hold myself to the highest standard possible. So anything anyone else says doesn’t mean much to me, because I have the highest standard.
Q: You’ve got one of your old Alabama teammates in DeVonta Smith lined up out wide again. How was it getting on the same page and getting back that chemistry that you two had in college?
A: It’s really crazy, because you talk about having a family feel on a football team. I’ve been fortunate enough to build those relationships with people I haven’t been with as far back as college, from the offensive line to the defensive line to the secondary to other guys in the receiving core, and that’s exciting. But having DeVonta is crazy because we talked about it. We spoke it into existence. We said, we’ll play again. We’ll get a real shot at this. And here we have a great opportunity to do something special.
“Football is more than a game. I think about all the opportunities I’ve had due to this game. Picking up a ball when I was four years old, just having it in my hand, all the experiences coming up as a kid, the opportunities I’ve had to serve, to uplift, impact those around me, young and old. It’s more than a game. And in my eyes, that’s what it’s all about. If I left tomorrow, I could look back and say I’ve impacted people’s lives.”
Q: Philly crowds are notoriously tough to please. Would you say Alabama or Philly has a more raucous fanbase?
A: Alabama has a high pedigree of winning championships, and that standard has been instilled in me. Go to Oklahoma, and it’s the same thing. A tough fan base that expects greatness, that expects a standard of play at the highest level. They expect to be in the playoffs and compete for national titles. It’s the same thing here in Philadelphia, the grittiness and the “get muddy, get dirty” mentality to go get it done. I admire that.
Q: Including college and your time in the league, you’ve had quite an interesting career. Looking back, if you had the chance to give some advice to 14-year-old Jalen Hurts, what would it be?
A: Where I’m sitting now, I have this opportunity where I can be a light to so many children around the world. I think about what message I want to deliver to them. I truly believe if you believe in yourself, anything is attainable. Put your mind to it, and you can go get it. And that’s the message I send out to all kids, everywhere. Listen to the people around you, respect the people around you, your elders. Do what’s right because it’s right and go get it. You’ve gotta believe in yourself before you do anything.
Want to know more about Jalen and how he made his dreams of going pro a reality? We’ve got you covered. Here are the Five Tools You Need To Make It In The League, straight from him and some other players you might recognize.