Jalen Hurts Readying to Compete, Jalen Mills Wants to Return to Eagles

The two Jalens talked to CBS Sports HQ during Super Bowl week
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It was a Tuesday made for Jalen, both Hurts and Mills.

Both players were in Tampa for Super Bowl 54 and that is where CBS Sports HQ caught up with them both.

Jalen Mills is an unrestricted free agent. He wants to be back in Philadelphia.

“When you got fans that passionate, why not want to play here,” Mills said on CBS Sports HQ. "I'm the Green Goblin. I love it in Philadelphia. I won a Super Bowl with them."

Jalen Hurts will be back, barring something unforeseen like a trade, which probably has a .00009 percent chance of happening.

If Hurts knows anything more about the Eagles’ mysterious quarterback situation, more than new head coach Nick Sirianni is letting on, anyway, he wasn’t saying.

"I'm putting the work in on my end,” said Hurts to CBS Sports HQ on what he needs to do to win the job. “I'm challenging myself to be the best quarterback I can be.

“Just leveling up on every part of my game. Building relationships, that's always pivotal. Creating an identity. That's a big point for me and that will help me as well as a player."

When Hurts last met with the Philadelphia media, on cleanout day after the Eagles season ended with a loss to the Washington Football Team, he talked about the need for the team to build an identity.

With Sirianni now in charge, the identity will have to be formed from the ground up, and exactly what that identity will be is rooted in Sirianni’s core values of accountability, competition, connections among teammates and coaches, smart and situational football, and fundamentals.

“I’m a competitor,” he said on cleanout day. “I control what I can. I put my best foot forward in any situation that I’m in. I’m going to be the best quarterback I can be.”

What Hurts didn't know then was an old friend of the family, Brian Johnson, would end up as his QB coach. Sirianni hired Johnson away from the University of Florida, where he was the offensive coordinator at the age of 33.

“Coach Brian is like family - I’ve known him since I was 4 years old,” said Hurts. “My dad actually coached him at Baytown (Texas) Lee High School. I grew up watching him play. Got a lot of love for him. Crazy how it works. He was actually recruiting me to go play at Mississippi State, when Dak (Prescott) left.”

“So now it’s kinda all fell into the right place, I guess, so I’m excited to be working with him,."

Hurts has flourished in a competitive environment, excelling at college football powers Alabama and Oklahoma.

He started the Eagles’ final four games after Wentz was benched and completed just 52 percent of his passes for 919 yards, five touchdowns, and three interceptions with a 77.2 passer rating. He also had 46 rushes for 272 yards and three TDs.

“I can only imagine the difference between this and a regular year,” said Hurts on cleanout day. “I can’t personally call on any past experiences of a regular NFL year. This is my first good go-round.

“I think this entire year from a leadership standpoint, from getting to know my teammates standpoint, I’ve tried to maximize that the best way I could … (in practice, locker room, being together). I think personally that it went well. Obviously, it could’ve been way better given the circumstances. But that was all the different setbacks we had with COVID.”

Mills knows what he would do in order to determine a starter between Wentz and Hurts.

“You got a guy like Carson who’s been there,” he said. “He had the crazy year in 2017 and we know that. He kind of didn’t play up to that this year. He knows that. He’s a fiery competitor and wants to be perfect at everything he does.

“Then you got a guy like Hurts, who’s a leader, a guy who won at Alabama, he won at Oklahoma then he came in and a really, really good rookie season, even though he started late in the season.

“I think you have those guys battle it during camp, you let those guys battle it out and whoever’s the best man, that’s the guy that’s going to be your starter day one.”

Ed Kracz is the publisher of EagleMaven. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.