EDITOR’S NOTE: The following article was originally featured on thealabamabaptist.org.
Redemption is a topic with which Jalen Hurts is intimately familiar, both on and off the field.
The Philadelphia Eagles star was the starting quarterback at Alabama before ultimately losing his job and transferring to Oklahoma. With that setback during his college years, Hurts has now led his pro team to the Super Bowl, football’s biggest stage, where the Eagles will face the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 12.
While the story may be a fairy tale-type ending for Hurts, it’s the redemption he has found through Jesus Christ that has given him the foundation for his life.
“I understand that God put those obstacles and challenges in my life for a reason,” Hurts wrote in a Players Tribune article after announcing his departure from Alabama. “He wanted me to feel the pain I felt for a reason. He wanted me to understand the importance of never losing faith—and of always staying true to myself. He had NOT brought me this far just to leave me there.”
A heralded high school recruit from Texas, Hurts made an immediate impact with the Crimson Tide, winning SEC Offensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year awards as Alabama’s starting quarterback and leading the team to the national title game (a loss to Clemson).
Sharing the spotlight
The next year, as a sophomore, Hurts again played a vital role in getting Alabama to the national title game after upsetting Clemson in the first playoff round. But facing SEC rival Georgia, Hurts struggled in the first half. With Alabama trailing 13–0 at halftime, Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban decided to bench Hurts in favor of freshman Tua Tagovailoa. Tagovailoa led a second-half comeback that gave Alabama the national title.
But for Hurts, despite his successes, his future with the team seemed uncertain. Tagovailoa remained the team’s starter for much of the 2018 season, finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting that year. Hurts did step in during the SEC championship game against Georgia that year when Tagovailoa went down to injury, sparking a 35–28 Alabama win, but Hurts’ time with the team was nearly over.
He transferred to Oklahoma the following season and excelled, finishing second in Heisman Trophy voting before the Eagles selected him in the second round of the NFL draft.
This season, Hurts’ second full year as the starting quarterback, was a massive success. The Eagles finished 14–3 and breezed through the playoffs to earn a Super Bowl berth.
“I’ve just matured and realized that God is everything, and He’s worthy of praise,” Hurts said in a CBS Sports article. “You have to put Him at the center of everything that you do. That’s what I believe. All my spiritual wisdom—all of my wisdom as a whole—comes from Him, in some way, shape or form, whether that be passed down from my father, my mother, my grandmother. I just think, in all the things that we experience in life—good, bad or indifferent—you have to keep Him in the center.”
In a GQ Sports video where Hurts lists 10 things he can’t live without, his daily devotional and his journal were included.
‘Walk by the Spirit’
“It’s really important to me because I’m a man of God,” Hurts said in the video. “Waking up every morning and having a routine where I can gain some wisdom and learn his Word and just walk by the Spirit. I strive to do that daily, and I challenge myself to spread that Word organically.”
In his Players Tribune article where he thanked the Alabama football program and its fans after his transfer to Oklahoma, Hurts addressed his Christian faith explicitly.
“Not everyone in this life gets the chance to be a role model,” Hurts wrote. “And that’s why I’m on this mission: to be the best player, leader and man that I can be. I know everything will unfold according to God’s timing. I am blessed to be where my feet are; my trust is in His hands.”