"The main thing is the main thing," is a phrase that is frequently uttered by Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. For the fourth-year star, his main thing is football with much broader reasoning.
"I am here for football," Hurts said. "This is what I do, that is why I am here."
On the surface, football can be self-explanatory. Hurts' definition is much more than going out there and playing the game.
It is leading.
It is growing.
It is learning.
It is winning.
Hurts first and foremost is a leader. Everywhere he goes, he has been in a position of leadership. From high school to Alabama and Oklahoma to the NFL. Part of that is his dedication to the game and his work ethic, the other part is the influence his parents, siblings, and grandparents had on him when he was growing up.
Hurts' leadership philosophy is about attitude and setting a precedent.
"Attitude reflects leadership," Hurts said. "I am always aware of the role that I play in that. It happens naturally, everywhere that I have been and for every team I have played for."
Hurts is always one of the first ones in and last ones out of the NovaCare Complex. He is setting an example of work ethic, dedication, and passion for his craft and creating a culture within the organization.
He has noticed more teammates coming in early and staying late to continue working out or to watch film.
"That is what you want," Hurts said. "It is not a self-gratifying feeling; it is what you need to win. If I am the person to set the temperature and pace for that; that is what needs to be done for us to be where we need to be."
"He is one of the hardest workers in the building, everyone knows that," said wide receiver A.J. Brown. "He is focused on being consistent and leading this team."
Hurts is setting the tone for his teammates, and they are following his example.
Through experiences in leadership and on football's biggest stages, he is always learning and looking for ways to improve.
Hurts is never settled.
"He wants to be better than he was last year," said running back Boston Scott. "His attention to detail each day, staying in the present, and his hunger stand out."
The Eagles' quarterback may act like a veteran in this league. Going into his third full season starting, he still has a lot to learn and room to grow.
This is the mindset that Hurts brings to the facility every day.
How can I get better? What can I improve upon today?
"It is about getting better every day," Hurts said. "Push yourself to do that and push the people around you to do that."
"He has been on a journey of daily improvement since the day we stepped in the building," said Offensive Coordinator Brian Johnson. "It is a testament to who he is as a person, how important football is to him, and his drive and overall determination."
For Hurts, actions speak louder than words. His teammates and coaches have taken notice.
During Training Camp, Defensive Coordinator Sean Desai shared a fascinating story about an interaction with the quarterback.
Hurts showed up at Desai's office around dinner time one night and just started asking questions, picking the brain of a defensive mind to get a new perspective and help him get better.
"He is a stud," Desai said. "He was really impressive. He is so sharp and so bright. Now being a part of the organization, you understand why he is so special. From afar, you see it, but you do not really know until you are a part of it. You can tell that he is trying to elevate his game to the next level."
Hurts has used defensive coordinators in the past to help him see the game in a different light and help him develop his skill set.
It is all an aspect of the dedication and passion that Hurts has for the game and how he can be the best player he can be.
For Hurts, being the best means beating the best.
"He strives for greatness; he wants to be a great player in this league for a long time," said tight end Dallas Goedert. "It is an everyday thing for him, he does not take a day off. He cares so much about this game, and that is what you want from a quarterback."
Once he hits the field it is about winning the drive, winning the half, and winning the game.
It is also what he thinks about in the little downtime he gets as the face of the franchise.
"When I am by myself, and I have time to think and decompress, I think about winning, it is the only thing that matters."
Hurts wants to be at the top of the mountain, looking down on every other team. It has never been about personal accomplishments for him, it is always about winning as a team and reaching that peak together.
The quarterback will look to do that in his fourth season, as he continues to improve upon a stellar season where he finished as an NFL Most Valuable Player finalist.
Hurts never loses sight of the "main thing." You learn, you grow, you lead, and you win.
"Winning is everything, but if you are not learning throughout life, regardless of the situation, you are doing yourself a disservice."
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