FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — On the Eagles’ bus ride from their team hotel to the New York Jets’ practice facility, Jalen Hurts took off his headphones to say something to Jalen Reagor.
The second-year quarterback returned to practice over the weekend after dealing with a stomach illness that sidelined him for the second preseason game, and Hurts apparently was fired up for the Eagles’ first joint practice with the Jets on Tuesday.
“He said ‘I’m in that mode,’” Reagor told reporters after practice. “He was listening to music, he said that, and he just shook his head and put his earphones back in.”
During his news conference after practice, Hurts seemed surprised that Reagor shared the details of his bus remark.
“Oh, my. He said that?” Hurts said. “Call it what you want, I’m just excited for practice. I’m excited to be out here with my teammates and to go compete against the Jets.”
Tuesday and Wednesday’s practice sessions against the Jets could be Hurts’ last time throwing against an opposing team’s defense until the season opener, depending on how coach Nick Sirianni approaches the preseason finale against the Jets on Friday at MetLife Stadium.
Sirianni hasn’t committed to playing his starters, including Hurts, in the game. The coach mentioned the importance of the joint-practice reps for the starters and for determining whether game reps are needed.
“That’s going to be something we evaluate every day,” Sirianni said. “We’re going to get two really good practices against the Jets. So, that’s something we’re going to continue to evaluate. ... I’d hate to give you an answer and then it not play out, so that’s something that is under constant evaluation. We are going to see how the work goes against the Jets and make a decision after that.”
Hurts was a late scratch for the Eagles’ preseason game against the New England Patriots last Thursday because of abdominal pain so severe that the team sent him to the hospital for evaluation. Joe Flacco started in his place.
Hurts’ absence led to Sirianni giving offensive linemen Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks and Lane Johnson the evening off as well, although the presumptive starting receiver trio of Reagor, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins still played the entire first half.
Speaking to the media for the first time since missing the game, Hurts said after practice that he was reluctant to tell the team he was dealing with the ailment, but did so with the expectation of playing. He also noted that, if it were a regular-season game, he would have played.
“I was hurting for sure,” Hurts said. “Sometimes I truthfully tell what the problem is — if I have a problem — sometimes I don’t. I was debating on if I wanted to say something or not. I said something with the intention of still playing, but they told me, ‘Let’s be smart about this.’ I’m thankful for the staff and the decision that they made.”
Hurts reportedly was discharged from the hospital relatively quickly and was sent home to rest Thursday night. He returned to practice Sunday for the team’s indoor session and seemed to be 100%, moving around well and scrambling often.
The Eagles’ starting offense had a handful of productive plays during the team sessions Tuesday, including a touchdown pass from Hurts to tight end Dallas Goedert from about 40 yards out. The first-team offense also scored in a two-minute drill at the end of practice, starting at its own 25-yard line and scoring a touchdown on a Hurts pass to Reagor near the goal line. The drive was aided by a pair of defensive pass-interference calls.
Hurts also connected with Watkins on a rollout to his left earlier in practice, putting up a jump ball that Watkins managed to reel in. Watkins was shaken up after landing on his back hard during the play but eventually returned to practice.
When asked whether he feels he needs the game reps this week after missing the Patriots game, Hurts said he’d defer to Sirianni’s decision.
But how can he get the most out of the joint practices just in case he has taken his last game rep before the Sept. 12 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons?
“I think it comes down to a mental approach,” Hurts said. “It’s a mental approach. Am I attacking every day? Am I doing the things I need to do to grow? Am I learning from my mistakes? We’ve gotten different looks from the Patriots and now today with the Jets. There’s been different things that we’ve been talking about as an offense and as a team, but we’re just learning from those things.”