Jalen Hurts says no to Netflix series, yes to big contract, raises Super Bowl hopes in Philadelphia

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Wednesday, July 26, 2023
Eagles fans excited as training camp begins
Eagles fans excited as training camp begins. Sharifa Jackson reports for Action News on July 26, 2023.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Jalen Hurts jogged out in his red Eagles jersey as the chorus of a Lil Wayne song pierced through the shrieks of hundreds of Eagles fans that caught their first glimpse of the season of QB1.

Hurts took a knee and paused for a moment as the "I'm Me" lyrics filled the air Wednesday in Philadelphia on a steamy first day of training camp.

"I'm me, I'm me, I'm me, I'm me. Baby, I'm me, so who you?"

The rap hit is about Lil Wayne's unwavering confidence in his abilities and the strength needed to rise above obstacles and reach an elite level in his craft.

The message is straight out of Hurts' playbook. Hurts was benched at halftime of the national championship game while playing college football at Alabama. Hurts was drafted by an NFL team that didn't really need him. Hurts will never develop into as strong a passer as he is a runner.

Forget all that.

Hurts used such doubts to fuel one of the great seasons ever for an Eagles quarterback, one that earned him AP NFL MVP runner-up honors and a trip to the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs. The 2022 NFC championship banner was affixed to the team's complex - a notable achievement, for sure - but a consolation prize that motivates Hurts to do more, win more, until the ultimate prize is reached.

How the Eagles may get there is still to be determined.

"If you go write something," Hurts said, "say that it's about setting the identity of the team, finding what it would be. Because it's different from year to year."

And what might the identity be this year?

"Whatever wins. Simple as that," Hurts said.

Day 1 is way too early to forge an identity, though the humble, hardworking traits that turned Hurts into an elite QB are sure to be at the core at whatever success the Eagles find.

Hurts, who turns 25 in August, certainly has earned the spoils from his accomplishments. There's a line in "I'm Me" where Lil Wayne thumbs his nose at the haters by saying he doesn't care because he's now a "cash money millionaire." In April, the Eagles rewarded Hurts with a $255 million, five-year contract extension that briefly was the richest in NFL history. Hurts couldn't turn down the cash but he did say no to joining the Netflix show " Quarterback " - twice.

"I didn't feel it was appropriate for the year, so I turned down the opportunity to be on it," Hurts said.

What a year Netflix missed. Hurts threw for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdowns and ran for 760 yards and 13 scores. He was spectacular in the Super Bowl, throwing for 304 yards and one TD with 70 yards rushing and three scores. But he also lost a fumble that was returned for a TD in a 38-35 loss to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

"If you fail, you want to fail forward," Hurts said.

Netflix called again this year about a role on the docuseries that follows some of the biggest quarterbacks in the game - Mahomes, Minnesota's Kirk Cousins and Atlanta's Marcus Mariota (now with the Eagles) were followed last season. Hurts may have said no to the streamer twice but hasn't ruled out saying yes in the future if the show continues.

"That time will come," he said. "There's a lot of the journey to be told. There's a lot yet to unfold that will be told one day and that time will come."

Maybe if the Eagles win the Super Bowl.

Jalen Hurts speaks to the media during the first day of training camp on July 26, 2023.

Hurts lost out to Mahomes for MVP and the Super Bowl and the Eagles are projected to finish behind the Chiefs again, this time per FanDuel Sportsbook. The Eagles opened camp at 8-1 to win the Super Bowl. Only the Chiefs had better odds, at 6-1.

"The goal right now, right this second, is not to get back to the Super Bowl," coach Nick Sirianni said. "I know everyone is like, that's a crazy thing to say. Our goal is get better today. You can't win two games unless you win one."

The Eagles went 16-2 with Hurts last year, including 14-1 in the regular season. They lost two games that he missed with a shoulder injury. Hurts wasn't quite the same explosive player in the playoffs that he was in the regular season, maybe one reason why he declined to say if he watched the Super Bowl replay. Hurts said he's simply "moved on" from the defeat.

"My way is a little different," Hurts said. "It's rare in a sense. But I just want to find a way to get it done."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.