PHILADELPHIA – Jalen Hurts has no excuses now.
This has to be the season he proves he can be the future quarterback of the Eagles, not just the guy in 2022. If he can, maybe will have the opportunity to sign a contract with lots of zeros like his good friend A.J. Brown.
The Eagles introduced Brown to the media on Monday evening, shortly after the big-time receiver inked a contract that could be worth up to $100 million over the next four years, but $57M of which is already guaranteed.
Hurts and Brown are good friends. Maybe best friends, because not everybody got invited to the 2-year birthday party of Brown’s daughter, Jersee, like Hurts was.
It was there that the two began throwing passes and joking about how maybe someday, and someday soon, they would be teammates.
“Every time we get together, we get a throwing session in,” said Brown. “Every time. It wasn’t on purpose, but we had a little fun with it (at Jersee’s birthday party), posting a picture.
“In the middle of the throwing session, Jalen says he’s going to ask them to trade for me. We were just laughing, joking. We had no idea that this would happen…Maybe he out a bug in (the Eagles’) ear.”
The dream became reality Thursday night when the Eagles sent a first-round pick and third-round pick to the Tennessee Titans to give Hurts not just any weapon, but perhaps one of the top five receiving threats in the entire NFL.
“That’s all I care about is winning,” said Brown, who will wear No. 11. “I’m not big a regular-season guy. I want to win it all. That’s my expectations coming into this building. I’m not trying to put expectations on the team, but I want to win.
"I haven’t won anything since I was in high school. I know this is a great team, a great organization that can get it done.”
Hurts will have to play the ultimate role in making winning happen, and not the type of winning Brown is talking about, but championship-winning.
The QB has Brown now to run opposite DeVonta Smith and a top tight end in Dallas Goedert. He also has a running game that finished the season ranked first in the league.
Brown believes Hurts can take him where he wants to go.
“I see a guy who is talented, believes in himself, has a strong arm, he’s on time and this isn’t coming from me, it’s from all the times we worked out together,” he said. “I think the sky’s the limit. I’m going to go to bat for him every Sunday because he’s my friend, so it’s a different mentality you bring when you’re playing for somebody that’s important to you.
"It’s not about yourself anymore, you’re playing for someone else. So, I’m going to go above and beyond for this team and for him.”
Brown said the friendship began when he took a recruiting trip to the University of Alabama and met Hurts, but the QB couldn’t sway him to Alabama as Brown opted to stay in-state and play at the University of Mississippi.
The friendship blossomed from there.
“I think when you run into good people, I think you try to stay close to them,” said Brown. “He was one person that I considered a really good friend. He’s always looked out for me. And here we are.
“We stayed in contact this entire time. We became really close friends. I’m extremely excited to play with him. We always joked about it. We never thought it would be reality.”
READ SI's ALBERT BREER LOOKING INSIDE THE DEAL TO LAND BROWN
Brown said he knew the trade was going down around 1 p.m. on Thursday, about seven hours before the first round of the draft was set to begin. Hurts tried to call him, but Brown said he “went cold on him.”
“Just mixed emotions,” Brown said about the lead-up to the trade, a deal he said he didn’t know was going to potentially happen until the day it did.
“I went and worked out. I actually worked out real hard, tried to get some stuff off my chest. It was just ups and downs. It was bittersweet. I was a little sad the Titans were on board with the trade, but it’s a part of the business, and that’s fine, but once everything got done and the trade went through and Jalen called me, he made it a lot easier. Like I said it’s been bittersweet but I’m so excited to be a part of a great organization.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Fan Nation Eagles Today and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglesmaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.