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Nick Sirianni explains why Jalen Hurts didn’t play in the Eagles’ preseason game against the Patriots

Philadelphia’s starting quarterback visited the hospital on Thursday evening.

NFL: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We were all caught by surprise when Joe Flacco — not Jalen Hurts — started the Philadelphia Eagles’ preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday night.

Shortly after Hurts’ unexpected disappearance, the team announced he was missing the game due to a non-COVID illness. We then got more clarity on the situation from Nick Sirianni during the head coach’s postgame press conference. As it turns out, Hurts had to pay a trip to the hospital on Thursday night.

Q: Hey, Nick. What happened with Jalen?

SIRIANNI: Yeah, he came in, he wasn’t feeling great when he came in. So we put him through pregame warmups and he wanted to go out there and go through pregame warmups. And he came back in, he still wasn’t feeling good, and we evaluated him. We just decided that it wasn’t in his best interest to play with what he was feeling. Uh, yeah, we evaluated him, he’s fine now, he’s doing OK now. But that’s why we held him out.

Q: Did you send him home?

SIRIANNI: He actually went to the hospital to get evaluated for his stomach. Like I said, he came back, everything’s good, and he’s going to be OK.

Q: What was the issue?

SIRIANNI: He just had pain in his abdomen. Which, for a guy like that, to tell us — he’s a tough guy. So, it must have been hurting him pretty good for him to let us know about that.

Q: I think it caught some of us by surprise because he was dancing, he was spinning, looked like he was feeling great. So, you’re saying he came into the building today before those pregame warmups and wasn’t feeling good?

SIRIANNI: Yeah. Correct.

Q: And you have seen enough from him where you would be comfortable going into Atlanta, that regular season opener, without him playing in that final game?

SIRIANNI: Next week, we have two practices against the Jets and two other practices. So, we’ll evaluate how he’s feeling these next couple days. But, again, we get two practices against the Jets to further— like I’ve said before, those are like games. Those inter-squad practices are like games, so he’s going to be able to get two more there. So I’m confident that we’ll get a lot of good work against the Jets.

Q: Would he have played if it was a regular season game?

SIRIANNI: You know, I think that’s hard to say. He really wanted to play. He really wanted to play. And we decided that that just wasn’t in the best interest of the team and of him. So, I think that’s a hypothetical, that’s hard to say. He was fighting me to play tonight. I know he wanted to. But that’s one where you have to lean on the doctors and make a decision and that’s what we did.

Following Sirianni’s presser, NFL insider Adam Schefter offered even more information on Hurts’ status.

There’s never really a good time for a stomach infection. And it’s a bummer Hurts had to miss out on playing a series or two against the Pats. Not only because it would’ve made the game more watchable but he could’ve benefited from some reps.

The silver lining is that, if the suggested timeline holds true, Hurts might be back in action for the Eagles’ next training camp practice. The Birds are practicing in front of fans at Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday evening.

At the very least, the Eagles will hope to have Hurts back when they square off against the Jets in joint training camp sessions starting this Tuesday. If Hurts doesn’t play in next week’s preseason finale, those practices might be Hurts’ last action against opposition until facing the Falcons in Week 1 on Sunday, September 12.