Jalen Hurts has first chance to ease lingering Deshaun Watson rumors Thursday vs. Steelers

Jalen Hurts Eagles
Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As it stands, Jalen Hurts has every reason to believe that he will be the Philadelphia Eagles’ starting quarterback for the 2021 season. But a somewhat controversial blockbuster continues to loom over the organization.

Last week, Chris Trapasso of CBS Sports reported that talks between the Eagles and Houston Texans on a trade for Pro Bowl quarterback Deshaun Watson are “heating up,” which suggests that Philadelphia is looking for an upgrade under center.

Hurts showed flashes of being the No. 1 man in Philadelphia when he relieved Carson Wentz for the final four games of the season — providing more life for an Eagles offense that ultimately went 1-3 down the stretch.

Watson has wanted out of Houston as the franchise trends in the wrong direction, dealing away franchise cornerstones such as DeAndre Hopkins and J.J. Watt, but his market took a considerable hit this offseason when 22 women came forward and accused him of sexual assault.

That doesn’t seem to be stopping the Eagles from inquiring about the three-time Pro Bowler, who led the NFL with 4,823 passing yards to go with 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions last season.

Obviously, that’s an upgrade from a football standpoint. But it’s not just about football — and conflicting reports have also indicated that the Texans aren’t interested in dealing Watson, after all.

But Hurts has an opportunity to start quelling such rumors all on his own Thursday night when he leads the first-team offense on the field for the Eagles’ first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Head coach Nick Sirianni said that Hurts’ playing time will depend on just how good he’s performing. If he and the offense click immediately on the opening drive, their days might be done after that. Should they struggle, you might see more of him.

Hurts will be hoping that he only sees a drive or two, then, as he has plenty to prove in 2021.

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