Not only did Jalen Hurts just make NFL history, he is the subject of a new Essence cover story. In the story, the Philadelphia Eagles quarterback talked about how Black women have led the way in his life.
On Monday, Essence unveiled its May/June Men’s Issue cover featuring the ultra-beloved quarterback.
With the emergence of this story, fans are now able to have a more “up, close and personal” experience with him beyond the strict parameters of his professional career as a football player.
In the interview conducted by Danyel Smith, Hurts illuminates the emotional elements of his career journey. In particular, he paints a vivid light on the extraordinary impact Black women have had on his life.
While he didn’t grow up in the church per se, he talks about the role Black women played in helping him develop his own sense of faith and spirituality
“I love me some Granny Cindy,” Hurts says of his grandmother. “She’s the staple in my spirituality. She’s always the one like, ‘Ask God for what you want. Ask God for what you need. He knows, but it’s okay to say it in prayer.’”
Among the other women that the quarterback talks highly about is his mother, Pamela Hurts, who inspired him to “get it out the mud, because she’s had to get it out the mud for herself.”
Also, there was a moment where Jalen reflects on his time as a freshman in college when his mother, a special education teacher, recognized that her colleagues were being laid off and this sparked her desire to start fresh.
“She went back to school, and she got her master’s to become a counselor,” he explained. “That’s a living testimony for me.”
This story coincides with another record-breaking win for Hurts, who agreed to terms of a five-year extension worth $255 million with the Philadelphia Eagles on the same day.
With this deal, he is now the highest-paid player in NFL history on a per-year basis. Ironically enough, his deal was also negotiated by a Black woman, NFL agent Nicole Lynn of Klutch Sports Group.
“I always knew what I’d be,” he told Essence about his career aspirations. “As a kid, I always knew. I never knew how I’d get there, but I always knew what I wanted.”