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January 24, 2024

Eagles wide receiver says Jalen Hurts is 'best leader I've ever been around'

The Eagles have a lot of issues. Jalen Hurts' leadership might not be the biggest among them.

Eagles NFL
2057_09142023_Eagles_Vikings_Jalen-Hurts.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 14: A photo of Jalen Hurts #1 of the Philadelphia Eagles from the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Minnesota Vikings on September 14, 2023 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. (Photo by Kate Frese/PhillyVoice)

It's Philadelphia. The blame game is basically the official sport of the City of Brotherly Love.

And it makes sense that the highest paid football player in the history of the city is being scrutinized for his part in the Eagles epic collapse — one that saw a 10-1 juggernaut whimper to a 1-6 finish and first round playoff exit.

Jalen Hurts' play on the field was not as good in 2023 as it was in 2022. That's an objective fact. Whether it's due to defenses adjusting properly, nagging injuries, or a full-on backslide is up for debate. But was his leadership in the locker room also a reason for the team's falling way short of expectations?

While there has been musing on talk radio and in local blogs about Hurts' leadership style, there really is no way to definitively know without being in the NovaCare Complex with the player himself on a day to day basis. And a quote from wide receiver Britain Covey became the subject of some scrutiny this week.

In a Jeff McLane story written for the Philadelphia Inquirer, the punt returner and backup wideout said the following:

“I’ve played for coaches before that claim to have an open-door policy and their door is always open, but they’re really intimidating. And I think that Jalen is similar to that in that he has an open-door policy, but because of his personality, at times, if you [are a new player and] haven’t been around him enough, it can be a little bit intimidating.” [Inquirer]

Some local pundits, including Barrett Brooks, misinterpreted the quote. Here's a video of him essentially twisting Covey's words to say that Hurts was unapproachable as a leader:

Of course, that's not what Covey meant to say. And in a nearly unprecedented show of support for his quarterback, Covey responded directly to the video we embedded above.

In a three-tweet thread, Covey said the following:

Normally I don’t respond to things like this because I’d hope that people don’t believe everything they hear/read. Jalen is the best leader I’ve ever been around. So you can hear it straight from me, not someone else. I NEVER said he was unapproachable, or I was scared of him


Someone asked me if Jalen’s “stoic personality” turned people away and if he was intimidating/unapproachable. To which I basically said that I’ve had coaches like that in the past, but Jalen WASN’T like that - and the moment you talk with him you realize how approachable he is


I truly don’t get this narrative. Jalen’s authenticity is what makes him a great leader. He’ll eat lunch with the “lowest” ranking guys on the team, like myself. He is a great friend and teammate

It's hard to get less ambiguous than that. Inquirer beat writer McLane defended the reporting himself, making it clear that perhaps the media has gotten a little aggressive in looking for scapegoats or storylines for what will be a mostly dead period in the pre-free agency NFL offseason.

Hurts' is still a young player, and he clearly has the respect of players in the locker room. He is a man who wants his play to speak for itself — and Eagles fans hope it does next season. Until then, buckle up for a potentially eventful offseason.

MORE: Eagles coaching search tracker

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