Eagles' Jason Kelce Speaks on Jalen Hurts Benching in Season Finale

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Following coach Doug Pederson's controversial decision to bench quarterback Jalen Hurts in Philadelphia's season finale against the Washington Football Team, center Jason Kelce shed some light on the incident.

Kelce took to Twitter on Tuesday morning to explain what happened on the Eagles' sideline after Pederson decided to replace Hurts with backup Nate Sudfeld in the fourth quarter of the Eagles' Week 17 loss. 

"At the end of the third quarter, I was told on the bench that Sudfeld was going in the game. I went up to Doug and asked him if he was taking hurts out, he said, 'yes, I think Nate's earned the right to play,' I said, 'everyone else is staying in?,' he said 'absolutely.' I then went to find Suddy. Started taking snaps on the sideline with him [sic]," Kelce wrote on Instagram.

"At no point was anything from me or anyone else confrontational. We all knew leading into the game that Sudfield was told to be ready to play, and that Doug wanted to see what he could do in a game situation. ...I understand the optics of how it looked, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little surprised given the circumstances that the move happened when it did, but every one of us did our best, and all of us believe we can win with Nate Sudfeld."

Philadelphia trailed just 17–14 before Hurts' benching, close to a victory to end the season and dash Washington's hopes of the NFC East crown. However, Pederson appeared to throw in the towel, playing Sudfeld throughout the fourth quarter as Washington seized a 20–14 win.

Since then, Pederson has come under fire for compromising competitive integrity, and Giants coach Joe Judge, who never mentioned the Eagles, had strong words for those who "disrespect the game."

Running back Miles Sanders questioned Pederson's decision on Monday, while The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jeff McLane reported two Eagles defensive players "had to be held back from approaching Pederson," and Kelce went to the coach to discuss pulling Hurts on Sunday night.

Hurts completed just seven passes for 72 yards before getting pulled on Sunday, though he did add two rushing touchdowns. Philadelphia finished 2020 last in the NFC East at 4–11–1, marking their first sub-.500 season since 2016.