After he spoke to reporters at his NovaCare Complex locker on Tuesday afternoon, the oddest thing happened as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts looked forward to a new season and a welcomed challenge: Reporters and videographers thanked Hurts for his professionalism with the media during the season, and he thanked them too. It was an extraordinary moment with a media group known as the most hardscrabble in the country and it was telling of one thing: Hurts impresses everyone with whom he comes in contact and his poise and conduct do not go unnoticed.
He is, officially, moving forward after Sunday's 38-35 loss to Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII. Hurts has watched the game again, has reviewed it with his coaches, has replayed everything he would love to have back from the game, and now he is on to the 2023 season.
"I think there is definitely a lot to learn from it," he said. "I have had the opportunity to watch it and I think I'm going to move forward with all of those experiences in mind and try to use those things to better myself and grow and help the guys around me and we're going to definitely use that as an experience to take a step and move forward. You have to look yourself in the mirror and assess it for what it is and do the things that need to be done to grow from it. I think that's my mentality going on and I think that will be this whole entire team's mentality moving forward."
Hurts brushed off a question about his contract situation – 2023 is the final year of his rookie deal, which started in 2020 when he was a second-round pick in the NFL Draft – saying, "There will be a day when that conversation will be had, but today is not that day." He is all about winning, and he has made that abundantly clear in every way since becoming an Eagle. The promise that he displayed late in the '20 and throughout 2021 blossomed into stardom in 2022 when Hurts passed and ran for 35 total touchdowns and 4,461 total offensive yards earning Pro Bowl honors and second-team All-Pro recognition, as well as being named a finalist for the league's Most Valuable Player Award.
In three playoff games, Hurts passed for 579 yards – 304 of them in the Super Bowl – and three touchdowns, adding five more touchdowns and 143 yards on the ground.
"I call them formative experiences. They are all teachable moments and you decide whether you want to learn from them or not," Hurts said. "I really believe that and that is something that I control and that is something that every individual in this organization controls and how we want to respond from it and to it. ... There is so much to be thankful for, so much to give gratitude towards. When you move forward, you move forward after times like this and I've experienced a number of things in seven years since my freshman year at Alabama, losing the National Championship there, you all know what it is.
"I think when you try and reassess everything after the fact, you have to understand that it's a complete clean slate and you're starting from Step 1. When you start from Step 1, everyone has to be on the same page with that."
Hurts will draw on his well-documented experiences at Alabama. He says he is "hungrier than ever, starving for more" and he will "challenge myself to be the best quarterback, leader, man I can be for my teammates, this City, and impact the people around me the right way."
He will do so without Offensive Coordinator Shane Steichen, now the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts. As usual, Hurts – who enjoyed coaching continuity in 2022 for a second consecutive year, the first time since high school that had happened for Hurts – took the optimistic approach.
"It's a good problem to have. I know I've spoken on that a lot and it's been a huge reality for me. I give a lot of credit to Coach Steichen for what he's been for me, the things he's taught me, what he's been for me and this team as a motivator, as a leader, as a coach, as an OC, I think he's been the world for us," Hurts said. "When you win, you want to give people other opportunities to chase their dreams and that is something that he has been able to do and I know he's going to do a great job for Indianapolis."