Jalen Hurts missed grandfather’s funeral for Senior Bowl practice — ‘Incredibly difficult’
Publicly this past week, it appeared that former University of Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts was enjoying his return to the state as he prepared for Saturday’s Senior Bowl game.
However, under the surface, Hurts has also been hurting.
According to a report by NFL.com, Hurts’ maternal grandfather passed away on January 13. His funeral was Wednesday during a daily Senior Bowl Week practice.
Since Hurts had committed to play in the Senior Bowl before the funeral was scheduled and the week’s practices are integral to NFL scouts evaluating Hurts ahead of April’s NFL Draft, he missed the funeral to stay in Mobile this week.
“He’s a team player,” Hurts’ mother told NFL.com on Friday. “Even though that was family, he’s worked all his life to get here and this is a critical time. He’s very, very family-oriented.”
Nicole Lynn, Hurts’ agent, reportedly described the two as very close.
“Jalen had an incredibly difficult decision to make after finding out his grandpa’s funeral would be during the Wednesday practice of the Senior Bowl,” Lynn said in a statement to NFL.com. “With a heavy heart, Jalen ultimately felt his grandpa would want him to keep his commitment and play in the game — so Jalen decided to play. I would be lying if I said this week has not been extremely difficult for Jalen considering the circumstance, but I admire his strength through it all.”
Incredibly, playing through the pain, Hurts shown bright during the Senior Bowl Week practices.
Teammates voted Hurts as the South Team Offensive Practice Player of the Week among the quarterbacks over the likes of Oregon’s Justin Herbert.
Hurts’ mother, citing his maturity and compassion, said “it’s hard for me to put into words” how proud she is of the former Tide star. Her comments came after the Senior Bowl Experience’s Meet the Players event, in which Hurts drew a huge crowd of fans trying to get his autograph and visit with the player.
“I’m in awe of the lives that he impacts, but just his character alone,” Hurts’ mother added. “It almost doesn’t feel real to me. Even today, all these people in line to see him with their Alabama gear on.”
In Saturday’s Senior Bowl game, Hurts went 6/13 passing for 58 yards and one touchdown. He also threw an interception.
The 2020 NFL Draft will be held April 23-25 in Las Vegas, NV.
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn