Back when Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts was a sophomore at Alabama, his head coach Nick Saban famously chastised the media for praising the team.
“All that stuff you write about how good we are and all that stuff they hear on ESPN, it’s like poison, you know what I mean? It’s like taking poison — like rat poison,” Saban said in Oct. 2017. “I’m asking them are you going to listen to me or are you going to listen to these guys about how good you are.”
Apparently it made a lasting impression on Hurts, because that’s what he referenced when asked how he maintains his focus on Wednesday.
“I try to stay away from the rat poison,” Hurts said, via video from Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press. When asked to clarify, Hurts continued, “You’ve got to ask coach Saban, he knows a little bit about rat poison, too.
“It’s all external factors. I’ve talked about that a little bit, external factors that are no good for us and what we’re trying to do as a team.”
Hurts has provided a clear spark for the Eagles, who have not been mathematically eliminated from winning the NFC East. He’s thrown for 505 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions, adding 169 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
It’s hard not to wonder what could have been if head coach Doug Pederson named Hurts the starting quarterback sooner. But that probably would’ve created more rat poison for Hurts to avoid.