Sunday, May 22, 2022

A.J. Brown says Jalen Hurts played a huge role in his trade to Eagles: I will ‘go to bat for him every Sunday’

All indications are that one thing in particular really propelled star wide receiver A.J. Brown from the Titans to the Eagles: money. Failed negotiations for a long-term contract reportedly prompted Tennessee to ship the Pro Bowler to Philadelphia during the 2022 draft, and the Eagles quickly inked their new wideout to a $100 million extension. But something — no, someone — else made the relocation just as alluring to Brown: quarterback Jalen Hurts.

At least half of the questions at Brown’s introductory press conference Monday centered on Hurts, with the former explaining that a longtime friendship with the third-year QB helped drive and finalize his move to Philly.

“It started — he was recruiting me to Alabama, and I chose Ole Miss,” Brown said, “but 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, but we never thought it would be reality … He made it a lot easier to make the decision, just because I know he has my back, and I have his.”

Hurts recently attended his daughter’s birthday party, Brown said, where they imagined an NFL future together.

“Every time we get together, we always get a throwing session in,” he said. “Every time … In the middle of the throwing session, Jalen said he (was) gonna ask them to trade for me. (But) we had no idea this would happen.”

Hurts, as it turns out, “was kinda putting a bug in their ear,” Brown suggested, echoing recent comments from Eagles general manager Howie Roseman, who noted that Brown’s connection with Hurts was an added bonus to acquiring the No. 1 receiver.

The QB wasn’t the only reason Brown sought a move out of Tennessee, which he acknowledged several times was a bittersweet decision. Brown “wanted (his) work to be appreciated” as “one of the top guys in the league,” for example, and the Eagles showed clearly, in their actions and pocketbooks, they “believed in me.” Yet he’s confident his connection with Hurts will make the new partnership especially fruitful on the field.

“We already have that friendship, so we can hold each other accountable,” he said. “We know what makes each other tick … I see a guy who is talented, believes in himself, has a strong arm, he’s on time. I think the sky’s the limit for him, and I’m gonna go to bat for him every Sunday. Because he’s my friend. It’s a different mentality you bring when you’re playing for somebody that’s important to you. It’s not about yourself (anymore), it’s about you playing for someone else. So I’m gonna go above and beyond for this team and for him.”

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