12 Jalen Hurts Facts (& Is He Really As Nice As He Seems?)

Super Bowl 2023 is already in the books of National Football League history. The last time an African-American quarterback took center stage was in 1988 when the Washington Redskins QB Doug Williams triumphed over the Denver Broncos to secure a championship ring. Super Bowl LVII is featuring not one, but two starting quarterbacks of color; Kansas City Chiefs' Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Williams took to TMZ Sports to relay his thoughts on the unprecedented Super Bowl moment, whose weight is heavy, given that there was a time when Black players faced discrimination. "It is a big deal. It's a real big deal." he emphasized. "When I won, it was a big deal. 25 years later, Russell Wilson won, it was a big deal. Now we got two Black quarterbacks playing in the Super Bowl, that's a great big deal."

Williams further hailed praises at Mahomes and Hurts, terming their road to the final as well-deserved. As millions of Americans wait for the face-off with bated breath, it's the perfect time to dig into the life of Hurts. How did he get here? Does he have a life off the field? Is he really the nicest guy in the room? Let's find out.

Jalen Hurts grew up in a sports family

Growing up in Houston, Texas, Jalen Hurts fell in love with the game of football because it was all he knew. His father, Averion Hurts Sr. serves as the lead trainer at Channelview High School, and has been a football coach for a long while. "I always talk about how impactful it was on my life being a coach's kid," Jalen relayed in a conversation with GQ Sports. One event, in particular, played a part in his urge to become part of the action. "The Friday Night Lights in Houston, Texas; being there [and] watching my dad coach, even watching my brother, my older brother play."

Years later, Jalen gifted his brother, Averion Hurts Jr. an Alabama jersey with a handwritten note that read, in part: "Every step I've made, you've been there." Averion Jr. expressed his appreciation of Jalen's message in an interview with Fox 26 Houston ahead of Super Bowl LVII.

In a serendipitous turn of events, Jalen's Philadelphia Eagles quarterbacks coach Brian Johnson —who has helped him find a spot in NFL royalty —was once a student of Averion Sr. "I coached [Johnson]. I was on the staff when he was a junior and senior at Baytown Lee High School," Averion Sr. gave away when he spoke to Fox 26 Houston.

Being benched changed the course of his career

As a star Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback, Jalen Hurts faced the biggest blow when he was benched during the second half of the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship. Speaking to ESPN, Hurts acknowledged that his then-head coach, Nick Saban, made a solid move to substitute him with the Miami Dolphins quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa for the sake of the bigger picture; winning.

Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to a victory against the Georgia Bulldogs. He also showed support for Hurts following an online uproar by tweeting, "Tired of people not appreciating the fact that if this man led us to the National Championship. And for all the fans that are against Jalen, you against me too. You either WITH US or AGAINST US. Love you 2."

A since-deleted response from Hurts simply read: "Love You Too Lil Bro! Proud Of You!" For Hurts, the moment was career-changing, at best. "That day made me who I am," he told ESPN."I wouldn't change it for the world."

His relationship with Alabama head coach Nick Saban

When Jalen Hurts first caught the attention of the Alabama Crimson Tide football head coach Nick Saban, the latter thought it was a rare occurrence that Hurts' father had coached him in high school. Regardless, Hurts made the cut for his athleticism and ability to relate well with other players. He put in more work to morph himself into an offensive powerhouse. "He did a great job for us and showed a lot of maturity with some good players around him to be able to continue to improve and develop as a quarterback," Saban said in an interview with the Philadelphia Eagles.

At the advice of Saban, Hurts, who'd earlier set his sights on Miami or Maryland after exiting Alabama, switched to the Oklahoma Sooners where he further sharpened his skills. "I said, 'You need to go to Oklahoma. They got the best coach to develop you as a quarterback' ... He did that." Saban revealed on The 33rd Team.

Of Saban, Hurts expressed gratitude in a chat with ESPN College Football, saying, "I've got a lot of appreciation for him and a lot of respect for him," adding that they had resemblance in their spirit of competitiveness and head-on tackling of the game.

How did Jalen Hurts spend his first million?

Jalen Hurts was picked by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. Surrounded by those close to him, Hurts shared the moment through a Twitter post, captioned, "God Is Always In Control. Just Never Lose Faith! John 13:7! #FlyEaglesFly." Speaking to GQ Sports, Hurts revealed that every time he frequents the post, it's as dreamlike as the first time. "I was just ready to go to work at that moment." He expressed.

Joining the Philadelphia Eagles not only certified Hurts' place as a professional, but it also brought along with it a mega paycheck. The four-year agreement amounted to a total of $6.02 million, with a certain $1.94 million and additional bonus perks. "Out of my first million, I probably spent $165,000," Hurts revealed in his GQ Sports interview. "I got a Philly cheesesteak from Larry's, of course. And I went and got some Philadelphia gear. I got some bomber jackets; a Kobe one, I got an Eagles one." 

Hurts splurged on expensive accessories, clothing, and footwear. He gave to charity — details on this later — and sought the services of a financial advisor. "I think that's very essential when it comes to saving and managing your money," he remarked on his ultimate boss move.

His bromance with Philadelphia Eagles teammate, A.J. Brown

The moment Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown landed in Philadelphia, he couldn't hide his joy. Brown was all smiles when he described how surreal it was that he'd get to play alongside Jalen Hurts, with whom he was close friends. "It's gonna be real special, man, I'm so excited," Brown raved as soon as NBC10 Philadelphia caught up with him. He and Hurts, he said, were an aligned pairing whose thoughts matched. "I talk to him every day," he disclosed.

During an appearance on Whistle, Brown went on to show his delight at the unique union. "My relationship with Jalen is, he's, as everyone knows, my best friend. We always talked about playing together and now here we are in Philly playing together. He's my quarterback, I'm a receiver. And it's been everything I imagined." The duo was seen in a celebratory mood as they walked off the pitch when the Philadelphia Eagles recorded a 35-10 win against Brown's former team, the Tennessee Titans.

He has bagged a number of accolades

Jalen Hurts is a man of many firsts. At the very beginning of his career, he led his team to a victory over the New Orleans Saints and became the only athlete to rush for 100 yards and throw a passing touchdown in his first NFL start. He wasn't done yet. Only two starts in, Hurts had already broken a 70-year-record by surpassing 500 passing yards and 150 rushing yards. Hurts' stellar showcase on the field earned him recognition way before he joined the NFL. In 2016, ESPN crowned him the SEC Offensive Player of the Year when he was still a Crimson Tide quarterback.

In December 2022, Hurts, alongside his best friend and Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown and six other team members bagged the coveted Pro Ball game selection, a huge feat that was shared via Twitter. A little over a month later, he was named a winner of the Bert Bell Award by the Maxwell Football Club.

Who is his alleged girlfriend, Bryonna Rivera Burrows?

Prior to winning an NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers, Jalen Hurts had no known public relationship. Following the January 29, 2023, match, a mystery lady seen in the company of the Hurts family drew the attention of his fans. Sporting a nude leather jacket and a dark pair of shades, Hurts' alleged girlfriend, who is yet to become Instagram official, was identified as Bryonna "Bry" Rivera Burrows, a University of Alabama alum.

Unlike Hurts, who graduated with a communications degree from the institution, Burrows studied Spanish and political science and went on to acquire a Master of Business Administration. She served as the vice president of her cohort.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Burrows works with IBM as an AI Partner, as of this writing. As one who is electrified by "a challenge to grow and improve," she's no different from Hurts, who shared the same sentiments during a press tour when he reflected on his road to Super Bowl LVII. "I think I've just been diligent. I've been diligent with everything. You know, I've truly embraced the grind. I find a thrill in the process of being better."

Anita Baker is on Jalen Hurts' playlist

Jalen Hurts surprised Fox Sports reporter Pam Oliver with his choice of music in a short interview after the Philadelphia Eagles December 2022 win against the Chicago bears. "I put my Anita Baker on and take this flight home and try to join my teammates," a smiling Hurts said in the clip that was shared by a Twitter user. "You're too young to know about Anita Baker," Oliver quipped. The tweet attracted a reply from the "Sweet Love" song sensation, who congratulated Hurts.

In an earlier chat with The Philadelphia Inquirer, Hurts gave an extensive look at who else was on his playlist. For starters, his mornings were spent blasting Ron Ayers' 1976 release "Everybody Loves the Sunshine," a tune whose reign he admitted was overdue. Hurts was looking forward to listening to Drake's then-released album, "Certified Lover Boy." His choice of songs included a whole load of rap music featuring artists such as Jay-Z, Nipsey Hussle, Migos, and Tupac Shakur.

He'd be cooking crawfish if he weren't a quarterback

As a young boy in middle school, Jalen Hurts trimmed grass to earn a few coins. "I started in the sixth grade into high school," He disclosed in an interview with GQ Sports."I just put the equipment on my dad's truck. I'd tell him, 'Hey, I got to go cut a yard over here.' I actually got stronger pushing that lawnmower too."

In high school, Hurts found a love for powerlifting. He worked heavy weights to the tune of 500-plus pounds in perfect form, as seen in a video shared on the Alabama Crimson Tide YouTube channel. Even then, he set the bar high as he does in the NFL.

If he weren't breaking records as a quarterback, however, Hurts would be getting busy in the kitchen or joining in his dad's trade." I could be a coach ... but I would probably be a professional crawfish cooker. Like, I got the best crawfish ever," he revealed at a press conference. Surprisingly, Hurts isn't the only Eagle with an untapped cooking prowess. His teammate and wide receiver DeVonta Smith also knows his way around the kitchen, as he told NBC Sports Philadelphia.

He doesn't pay attention to naysayers

Jalen Hurts' run as a quarterback hasn't been void of challenges, many of which he experienced early in his career. As an Alabama Crimson Tide QB, Hurts led his team to an SEC Championship win despite several elements of doubt. While his critics were rallying for a transfer, Hurts stayed hopeful by turning to his faith. "I put it in God's hands," he declared in a post-game interview.

Hurts' woes extended to Philadelphia, where he didn't feel welcome as a rookie." My first year here, I mean, they probably didn't even want to draft me here," he said at a press conference.  He conveyed that he wasn't worried about the naysayers. Instead, Hurts channeled his energy into making the best of his position. "I just try to stay true to myself, stay true to my teammates, and just chase that growth alongside with them," he stated, adding that his wounds, though mental, always stuck around.

With a Super Bowl championship ring in the offing, one of Hurts' skeptics ate humble pie and issued a heartfelt apology to the Eagles quarterback ahead of his big game.

What he thinks about the Kansas City Chiefs' defense

The Philadelphia Eagles have shown up to the Super Bowl three times in the past; Super Bowl XV, Super Bowl XXXIX, and Super Bowl LII. They clinched the title once by beating the New England Patriots in 2018, and have a massive fanbase that included former Lakers shooting guard, the late Kobe Bryant

Their counterparts, the Kansas City Chiefs, on the other hand, have a record two titles from five Super Bowl appearances. In the times these opposing teams have gone head to head (nine), the Chiefs have registered five wins, the last of which was in October 2021.

Jalen Hurts gave his analysis of the Chiefs' defense during an appearance on "SiriusXM": "I think they are really good at every position. I think they play really good outside. In the back end, they do a good job of contesting balls, keeping everything in front of them," He noted, further adding, "We have our hands full with a really good defense."

Yes, Jalen Hurts is a nice guy

In December 2021, Jalen Hurts went on a quest to make a difference in one family's life. With the help of the Philadelphia-based charity Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (which works with children diagnosed with cancer), Hurts reached out to Erick Carter, who's since gone on remission. "This is what I told Erick, I was like, 'Is there anything that you want Santa to come give you or anything that you want to ask Santa?'" Hurts recalled in a chat with GQ Sports. Although Carter had no major request, Hurts went on to help his family secure a house by donating a $30,000 deposit off of his first NFL million.

That wouldn't be the last time Hurts showed a compassionate gesture. Off-camera, there have been reports of his philanthropic spirit. In December 2022, The Athletic journalist Zach Berman tweeted, in part, "Jalen Hurts gifted his offensive linemen Louis Vuitton bags today. And it wasn't just the starting linemen — reserves and practice squaders, too." In a similar fashion, Hurts apparently purchased Beats headphones for the entire Philadelphia Eagles team ahead of the Super Bowl.

Besides spending money, Hurts has in the past dedicated his time to bettering the  Philadelphia community through mentorship. His actions of kindness are proof that his nice-guy persona on camera isn't, in fact, an act.