FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — He thought about hiding it.
He thought about not telling anybody he wasn’t feeling well and just going out and playing football.
Jalen Hurts spoke Tuesday for the first time since he missed the Eagles’ preseason game Thursday night against the Patriots with a stomach ailment. He said he wanted to play so bad that he considered just not telling his coaches or trainers something was wrong.
“I was hurt, for sure,” he said after the Eagles’ first joint practice against the Jets. “I was hurting. And sometimes I truthfully tell what the problem is if I have a problem and sometimes I don’t, and I was debating if I wanted to say something or not.
“I said something with the intention of still playing, but the signs were telling [us] let’s be smart about this and I’m thankful for the staff and the decision they made and I’m here now practicing against the Jets and I’m good.”
Hurts said he began experiencing discomfort earlier in the day Thursday. He warmed up with his teammates — by now everybody has seen video of him dancing on the field 45 minutes before kickoff — before finally getting shut down by the Eagles' medical team just before game time.
The Eagles took Hurts to a hospital to get checked out, and head coach Nick Sirianni said after the game Hurts had a stomach infection.
Hurts wouldn’t say when he began feeling better — “I’m better now, that’s all that matters” — but he participated fully in an indoor practice in the Eagles’ bubble Sunday afternoon and was a full participant Tuesday in an intense practice at the Jets’ facility.
“It was taking a precaution,” he said. “We took precautions around the issues I was having, and I’m blessed to be able to be OK right now and be able to practice right now and be able to talk to you guys.
“Didn’t know how long it would take; thankfully it was sooner rather than longer. I’m good now.”
And if it were a regular-season game?
“Yes, yes,” he said. “I would have played.”
Hurts has played only 10 snaps so far this preseason — he got the first two series in the preseason opener against the Steelers on Aug. 12 — and Sirianni has hinted that if these two days of workouts with the Jets go well, Hurts won’t play Friday night in the preseason finale.
Is it enough for the 23-year-old Hurts?
Hurts understandably won’t say whether he wants to play Friday night, but he did say two days of joint practices with the Patriots and two more with the Jets go a long way toward preparing him for the regular season.
“I think it comes down to a mental approach,” he said. “Am I attacking every day? Am I doing the things I need to do to grow? And am I learning from my mistakes? And I think we’ve gotten different looks from the Patriots and now today with the Jets and different things we’ve been talking about as an offense and a team and just learning from those things, regardless of how they came, regardless of what it is, just learning from it. The overall goal is to just take those steps every day. That’s how we look at it.”
The Eagles’ defense may have stolen the show Tuesday, but Hurts and the starting offense had another overall positive day Tuesday. Working against Robert Saleh’s defense, Hurts threw the ball accurately, spread the ball around and looked confident and comfortable against a new group of defensive backs.
“We’re worried about taking a step every day and I’m happy we took that step today,” he said. “We got better today. We’re a better football team than we were yesterday.”
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: