Cassius Life Featured Video
NFC Wild Card Playoffs - Philadelphia Eagles v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Source: Perry Knotts / Getty

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts started the season as one of the record 14 starting Black quarterbacks in the NFL, fresh off his first Super Bowl appearance and a five-year $255 million contract that made him among the highest-paid at the position.

Now, he’s staring at the backs of Houston Texans shot-caller C.J. Stroud and Green Bay’s Jordan Love, both of whom moved on to the next playoff round with their teams despite limited expectations.

When cleaning out his locker this week, Hurts was left to explain how what was supposed to be the Birds’ run-it-back year turned into a humiliating defeat after a 32-9 playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The Eagles fanbase called for the head of defensive coordinator Sean Desai, who was ultimately demoted in favor of former Lions head coach Matt Patricia, now an assistant with the splashy title of senior defensive assistant. Most people believed that OC Brian Johnson, promoted from quarterback coach after Shane Steichen went to be the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, had to go. Many have pointed fingers at head coach Nick Sirianni and GM Howie Roseman, who dismantled key elements of a team that went to the Super Bowl.

But Hurts says that the buck stops with him.

“I look myself in the mirror before I do anything else,” Hurts, 25, told media assembled at his locker to get the final thoughts on the season. “And that’s just being better on my part. I’m not the same player I was when I came here as a rookie, I’m not the same player I was as a second-year player. … You have to continue to evolve, not only as a player, but as a man, as a leader.”

In his fourth year, Hurts regressed in several statistical categories including passer rating, yards per attempt and completion percentage. He also had a career-high of 15 interceptions and five fumbles. But he was just as often the bright spot in a team that struggled at every level after a hot start.

What precipitated the collapse of a team that was one play away from a Super Bowl victory and had a 10-1 record this season until dropping six of their next seven games, remains a mystery. But it appears Hurts is committed to doing what it takes to improve.

“I think the toughest thing right now is knowing that someone else is going to win a world championship,” Hurts said. “And there’s going to be a lot of motivation in that in itself. And there’s going to be a lot of reflection in that internally so that I can not only operate at a high level on the field but lead the guys.”

While theories of all kinds continue to abound and you can read them here, here and here, and Sirianni remains on the hot seat, Hurts will be back for his fifth season, and barring anything unforeseen it will be in an Eagles uniform.

His final take on 2023-2024: “It was not our time and it was not our turn.”

See how social media is roasting Hurts after a phenomenal season fell apart.