Jalen Hurts grew up admiring Cam Newton when he was a kid and Newton was going to Pro Bowls and a Super Bowl. And Cam Newton always kept an eye on young Jalen Hurts when he began making a name for himself as a young superstar in Texas.
On Monday morning, Hurts and Newton met in person for the first time as Hurts’ Eagles hosted Newton’s Patriots in the first of two days of joint practices at the NovaCare Complex.
Hurts just turned 23 last week. Newton turned 32 in the spring. But they’re tied together as two of the most accomplished SEC quarterbacks ever and two of the league’s most notable two-way QBs.
“This is my first time actually meeting him in person,” Hurts said after practice. “I know in the past in the midst of trying to find out where I was going to go the second time around (after leaving Alabama) he called me on (former Auburn coach) Gus Malzahn’s behalf and I’ve also had communication with him.
“An older athlete, obviously he’s a legendary player, the things that he’s done in college and the league, I watched him a lot growing up. So being able to talk to him, being able to have a relationship with him and meeting him in person for the first time, it was great.”
Newton and Hurts are among only two quarterbacks who’ve averaged 13 yards per pass attempt and 5.0 yards per carry in the last 20 years as rookies. Deshaun Watson is the other.
So Newton and Hurts are linked together by a style of play. Hurts is still finding his way in the NFL, but remember, Newton was 13-19 in his first two seasons with the Panthers. By his third year he had the Panthers in the playoffs and by his fifth year the Super Bowl.
“Hurts is my little bro, man,” Newton said after practice. “There’s a lot of guys that I admire from afar. And just to see the state of the NFL, having so much athleticism at the quarterback position it’s something to smile about.”
Hurts and Newton both have Texas ties as well. Hurts of course grew up in the Houston area and starred at Channelview High School, and Newton spent a year at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas, about an hour northwest of Houston.
“Jalen is a person that I followed all through college,” Newton said. “Hearing so much about him really in high school in the Houston area with me going to JUCO and for me to see him out here today, it’s always love and always going to be love between us.”
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